The McCrory Commerce Department thrust itself back into the news. With its jobs plan came a reminder that McCrory wants Commerce to be run by private interests themselves. Other governors in the gold-plated grip of ALEC have done the same, so it’s tempting to see his plan simply as a surrender to that corporate phalanx. However, McCrory’s love of privatization dates back a long time.
Just one year after joining the City Council, McCrory wanted to tax Charlotte to pay for the Hornets’ arena. Seven years later, in 1997, he supported raiding Charlotteans’ wallets to build the team a brand new stadium. Despite the unpopularity of the measure, he rammed it through anyway in 2001. Four years later, NASCAR Hall of Fame executives roared into town. In due time, McCrory made Charlotte taxpayers their pit crew. His constituents opposed him at every turn. Much more importantly (to him), though, the downtown business establishment craved these projects.
As it was on the tax side, so was it on the spending side. As early as 1993, then-Councilman McCrory urged Charlotte to “move as quickly as possible” to pay private companies to collect trash. In 1994 he supported bidding out Charlotte’s special-needs transportation services. He continued as mayor, promoting big–but characteristically nebulous–privatization schemes for almost any service in sight.
And of course he continued as governor. Everyone knows he’s produced specious argument after specious argument for privatizing Medicaid. Everyone should know that he has always liked trading public costs for corporate benefit. As he said in 2006, “If it’s in the yellow pages, we maybe really ought to look at outsourcing it.”
Alexander Jones is an original contributor to PoliticsNC.