The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

September 4, 2013

Three big problems facing the GOP now

Wednesday, September 4, 2013 — RALEIGH —Legislators will return to the capital next week to figure out what to do about Gov. Pat McCrory’s two vetoes.

Then, the 2013 legislative session should be put to bed for good.

No more bizarre bills about Sharia law. No more Moral Monday protesters being hauled away. No more late-night comics wondering which is really the crazy Carolina.

With months to go before the legislature reconvenes in the spring, much of the controversy surrounding legislation that had state policy taking a hard right turn will die down.

Already, GOP leaders who helped to drive the policy shift are accusing Democratic activists and the media of exaggeration. Maybe they are right, in some cases.

Going forward, though, North Carolina Republicans will be haunted by three key problems resulting from the 2013 legislative session.

n They have cast themselves as anti-public schools.

No single action taken by GOP leaders put themselves in this precarious situation. It’s the totality of their actions and their rhetoric.

Cuts to the education budget, no raises for teachers, the elimination of a popular teacher scholarship program, vouchers for private schooling and the end of teacher tenure all add up to being against public schools in the minds of many teachers and parents.

Senate leader Phil Berger pushed some ideas with which a lot of parents wouldn’t disagree, including emphasis on early-grade reading and making it easier to get rid of poor teachers.

But his rhetoric, like that of other Republican leaders, creates a perception of being aligned against the public schools. Calling teaching groups “dishonest” brokers of the debate, while misrepresenting 4th grade reading scores, does nothing to improve schools.

Neither does calling the public schools “broken” or saying that they offer no choices.

Involved parents know better. They are there, with their feet on the ground at the schools. They know public schools are flawed, but they also know how to negotiate the system to find solutions that work for their children.

n Mammoth changes to election laws generated an initial avalanche of bad press nationally. It won’t go away if local election boards use the laws to make predictions of voter suppression come true.

After talking about voter ID for months, the decision to pursue a raft of other changes making it harder on voters has clearly boomeranged. The only question remaining is how often local boards will bring more attention to the embarrassment.

n It won’t happen in 2014, but the following year some North Carolinians will learn that the $600 million tax cut that legislators approved is actually a tax increase for them.

Middle-class wage earners who operate small businesses on the side are most likely to fall into the category. That’s because legislators, as a part of their tax overhaul, decided to drop a tax exemption, adopted two years earlier, on initial earnings by non-corporate business tax filers.

The three problems are not going to be easily overcome.

That’s the thing about governing. It has permanence.

Scott Mooneyham is a syndicated columnist for Capitol Press Assciation and covers activities of the N.C. Legislature.

Text Only
Opinion & Letters to the Editor
  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 19, 2014

  • The case for separate beds

    WASHINGTON - The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 19, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Obama's equal pay exaggeration leads us all into danger

    The president's claims of national shame over gender-based pay inequity spring from distorted calculations, as well as some convenient political math.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Teens trading naked selfies for mugshots

    Will teenagers ever learn? You think yours will. Maybe so. But it's likely that was also the hope of the parents of children who were so shamed by nude photos of themselves that went south - how else can they go - that they killed themselves.

    April 12, 2014

  • Brent Laurenz If you want to vote in primary, you need to register to vote now

    RALEIGH – North Carolina voters will head to the polls on May 6 this year to cast ballots in important primary elections across the state.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Scott Mooneyham Heeding the voter fraud call in N.C.

    RALEIGH – Legislators found the findings outrageous.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Doug Creamer Roots

    I took a few minutes over the weekend to enjoy our yard and the arrival of spring. There seems to be so much work that needs to be done, it is hard to decide what to do first. I am excited that I got to run my tiller through the garden. I didn’t go very deep, but I did at least break up the soil. I have a couple of raised beds and the soil in them was in very good shape. I didn’t plant my peas and now after the big rain we got on Monday I realize that I missed a window of opportunity.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • 10 tips for surviving a severe allergy season

    My colleague Brady Dennis reported recently that the arrival of warmer weather will soon unleash a pollen tsunami in parts of the country where the winter has been especially long and cold. Here are some survival tips from Clifford W. Bassett, an allergy specialist and assistant clinical professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine.

    April 11, 2014

  • Is a paleo vegetarian diet possible?

    Research shows most people can follow a regimented eating plan for a short time. That's not the challenge. The challenge is finding a healthful eating plan you can follow day after day and achieve your long-term health goals. At this point, it doesn't appear that the paleo eating plan meets these objectives for most people.

    April 10, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 2.16.35 PM.png Are Americans smart to stop drinking diet sodas?

    Recent data from Beverage Digest suggest many are cutting back on diet sodas. Consumption of diet sodas fell more than that of sugary sodas in 2013. This raises two questions: Why is total consumption declining, and is drinking diet soda harmful to health?

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Seasonal Content