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.

1
Text Only
Opinion & Letters to the Editor
  • Doug Creamer Friends and contentment

    Last week I made my annual trip up the mountain to Sparta. My friends have a secluded home near a babbling brook. Their home and property are a haven for peace. It’s a two-plus hour ride to their home that doesn’t feel that long because I look so forward to my time with this great couple. When I arrive, the conversation seems to pick up right where we left it the last time we saw each other.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thanks for the honest deed

    I would like to thank the person that found my wallet in the parking lot of Harris Teeter on July 23 and turned it in to the Albemarle Police.

    July 29, 2014

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • We need your help

    Hurray for the Albemarle City Council. Council plans to battle N.C. Department of Transportation’s ranking of all 13 projects in Stanly County to the bottom of their priority list. Council is setting up petitions in various city buildings for citizens to sign.

    July 28, 2014

  • Council asks veterans to seek office

    The terms of office for the leaders of the Stanly County Veterans Council ended June 30. A call is being sent to veterans council members requesting candidates for the four elective offices of the council. A meeting has been set for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 12 at the DAV building. All council members are urged to attend.

    July 28, 2014

  • Mike Walden The gains and gaps in our economy

    Twice a year, I pull out my cloudy crystal ball and attempt to make some predictions about the direction and pace of the North Carolina economy. I just finished my latest effort and, as usual, the results are a combination of pluses and minuses.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jason O. Boyd Yellow journalism takes on new form, people are dumber for it

    Time to get on the soapbox for a few minutes.
    Let me clear my throat. Eh ... hem!
    People are dumb.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brent Laurenz Special election adds to the mix

    RALEIGH – A busy slate of judicial elections this November got even busier recently when Judge John Martin of the N.C. Court of Appeals announced his retirement.
    A special statewide election to fill Martin’s seat will be added to the general election ballot, joining the four N.C. Supreme Court seats and three N.C. Court of Appeals races already slated for this fall.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Patrick Gannon Fake news or sign of some more trouble?

    RALEIGH – Of the three situations I can recall where agencies receiving large sums of taxpayer dollars wouldn’t divulge employees’ salaries, two of them ended badly. The third – involving a group of charter schools in Southeastern North Carolina – is playing out right now.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Almost half of America's obese youth don't know they're obese

    WASHINGTON - The good news is that after decades of furious growth, obesity rates finally seem to be leveling off in the U.S.. The bad news is that America's youth still appear to be dangerously unaware of the problem.

    July 23, 2014

House Ads
Seasonal Content