“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” We would all be better off if the Republicans who control the General Assembly took that advice. Instead, they’ve killed programs that work well with little reason other than they don’t fit into their free-market ideology.

Their so-called environmental reform bill reduced the number of air quality monitors because they worked so well our air is cleaner and we certainly can’t have that! The monitors were put into place because of the landmark Clean Smokestacks Act of 2002, a bill hammered out by the environmental community and industry. It’s been remarkably successful and a model for other states. In the world of free-marketeers, though, it’s just more government interference and regulation.

Then there’s the historic preservation tax credit. The credit is so successful that South Carolina and Texas are implementing them. Not here. We may have pioneered it, but the GOP scrapped it last summer. Pat McCrory and the House would like to bring it back because it not only saves historic architecture, but it creates good paying jobs, too. The Senate, though, will keep it dead because…well…you know…FREE MARKET! It’s a shame all those heritage people are worrying about a flag instead of their towns and cities. We could use their energy around something that really preserves history and heritage. 

As Republican consultant Carter Wrenn points out, Community Care of North Carolina has saved the state millions of dollars by reducing Medicaid costs. So what’s the GOP going to do? Scrap it, of course. It’s a non-profit and doesn’t fit into their free-market ideology so they are going to a managed care model that lets big corporations take over our Medicaid system because…COMPETITION!

And of course there’s the renewable energy standard that’s widely supported by business and industry. It’s also responsible for thousands of jobs and made North Carolina a leader in green energy. It’s worked too well for the free marketeers. By their reckoning, it gives clean energy an unfair advantage over, say, coal fired plants that cause all kinds of the health and environmental damage. Again, it’s just an anathema to Republicans that a government program could actually work so they have to kill it.

And there are numerous other examples. For instance, Trudy Wade’s bill would allow residents to call for a referendum to remove certain municipal taxes. We’re not a referendum state but Wade’s bill would start moving us in that direction. It’s worked so well in California.

House Speaker Tim Moore came to power promising to show that the GOP could govern. Unfortunately, it’s not to be. The ideologues in the Senate are too busy micromanaging local governments and sticking square pegs into round, free-market holes to pay attention to what’s working and what’s not. They don’t seem to care whether policies are good for the people or the state. They only care that they fit into their narrow ideological box.


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