For weeks, Governor Pat McCrory has been blaming everybody for the GOP’s self-inflicted wounds. It’s the liberal media, even though many of the newspapers criticizing him endorsed him. It’s those mean old “outside groups” like ProgressNC, as if he doesn’t have the backing of his own “independent nonprofit” and Americans for Prosperity. And they can’t afford raises for teachers because of a Medicaid system out of control even though 280 employees in the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency that oversees Medicaid, got raises anyway.
Well, now McCrory’s found something else to blame. “I inherited a terrible budget from the previous administration and I’ve got to rebuild that budget,” he whined in interviews this week. Well, that budget didn’t come from the previous administration. That budget came from the same folks who sent him this one, Phil Berger and Thom Tillis. So is he making stuff up again or does he still not understand how state government works?
Let’s rehash a bit. Bev Perdue vetoed the Republican budgets in both 2011 and 2012 because of cuts to education. Both times, the GOP-controlled house and senate overrode her veto, so if McCrory has a beef with the finances, it’s with Thom Tillis and Phil Berger, not Bev Perdue.
And let’s remember some of the high points of those budgets. They introduced drastic cuts to public education while giving more than $500 million in tax cuts to businesses. In response, our economy was going to be in high gear, creating jobs left and right. Instead, our unemployment is headed in the wrong direction and is now third highest in the nation.
And as for that Medicaid problem McCrory uses as an excuse, that’s a GOP problem also. Former head of DHHS Lanier Cansler warned of major problems if the legislature went through with $350 million in cuts back in 2011. They did it and he was right.
So what did the Republicans do? They doubled down. They squeezed education again and gave huge tax cuts to the wealthiest North Carolinians, but they use Medicaid costs as an excuse for denying raises to teachers and state employees and laying off school personnel. And this time, McCrory was a party to the same tactics he’s now criticizing.
It’s time for McCrory to stop whining and start leading. He’s right. The previous budget is a huge problem. He should take it up with the people who wrote it. Maybe if he really stood up for something, it would help him figure out who he is. Then he could let the rest of us know.