by | Feb 20, 2018 | Ads | 8 comments

So legislators are calling for the Governor to deploy troops at our prisons. Not because there are riots, but because they’re underfunded and understaffed. They want to turn our National Guard into temporary workers to cover up for the failed policies of the GOP.

What a bad idea. They are aren’t trained to be prison guards. Our prisons aren’t disaster areas or battlefields.

I’ve got a better idea. Let’s appropriate enough funds to make sure we can attract and retain enough qualified personnel to keep our state workers, and our families, safe. A report by the Charlotte Observer last year pointed out that guards at North Carolina prisons make less than their counterparts in other states. In an increasingly competitive job market, the state needs to offer better pay and better benefits to attract qualified and competent workers.

Republicans like to brag about cutting taxes and spending but we’re seeing the price the state is paying. Today, we’re reading about sending the National Guard to provide a band-aid to underfunded prisons. Last week, we were talking about cutting classes for our children to pay for an unfunded mandate. We’re quickly becoming Kansas-lite.

To fix its tax cut debacle, Kansas finally had to raise taxes but not before doing damage to their public schools and bankrupting the state. Other states that have tried massive tax cuts that conservatives said would be replaced with revenue from economic growth have failed, too. Oklahoma now has a bunch of schools that only go four days. We’re not at that point yet, but we’re seeing a deterioration of our services and a decrease in tax revenue. Just wait until we have a recession.

Republicans like to claim that we don’t have enough money for services but they never complain that we don’t have enough for tax cuts, most of which go to the wealthiest among us. They’ve bought into trickle-down economics, which they call supply-side economics, regardless of how badly they fail most people. Consequently, we’ve become a society with rapidly increasing income inequality and a middle class loaded down with debt. And we’re failing to sufficiently keep our families safe and our children educated.


  1. ebrun

    Liberals just don’t get it. Mr. Mills is still promoting the same old liberal agenda–higher taxes, more regulations, grow the government, neglect and at times denigrate the private sector. These policies may find approval among the editorial writers of the state’s metropolitan newspapers as well as most contributors to this blog, but recent trends reveal that a vibrant private sector is more beneficial for the general population than high taxes and more government regulation.

    The cuts in NC state income taxes were passed by the NCGA in 2013 to take effect in 2014. From the 4th quarter of 2013, NC experienced 10 consecutive quarters of per capita growth equal to or greater than the national average. This was the best stretch since 1996-97, according to Brent Lane, Director of the UNC Center for Competitive Economics.

    By contrast, from 96-97 to 2014, the state lagged behind the national averages.

    From mid-2013 to mid-2016, job growth in NC outpaced the regional and national averages. During that period, NC was in the top ten in labor market improvements among the 50 states, according to Lane and data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce.

    From 2013 to 2016, NC was first among the 50 states in the rate of median household income growth. From 1997 to 2012, NC ranked 49th among the states in median household income growth.

    While these trends are ignored or downplayed by Democrats and the liberal mainstream press, they are obviously having a positive impact on net population immigration to the state and on new business development. In recent years, several national business publications have ranked NC in the top five among the states in terms of business climate and small business opportunities,

    Liberals can resort to alarmist claims bemoaning the status of state prisons or public schools, but what they really support is the rapid growth of government. Public sector growth no doubt enhances the power and influence of state officials, university administrators and professors, liberal advocacy groups and pundits, and Democratic politicians. But the public sector and its minions do not have the wherewithal to finance the economic well-being of the general population

    A dynamic and flourishing private sector is the only means available to achieve the well-being of the middle and working classes and at the same time provide the public sector with the funds to carry out it governing responsibilities. This has been the trend in NC since the GOP took over the NCGA seven years ago. Liberals pundits and politicians will try to spin it this way and that to support their ideology, but they can’t change the positive trends that are abundantly obvious to most average workers and their families.

    • Christopher Lizak

      Immigration trends have remained unchanged since 1997. So how can the trend “obviously” be having a positive impact on net population immigration and new business development? Does not follow.

      The current trend is most definitely NOT “a dynamic and flourishing private sector . . .providing the funds to carry out. . . governing responsibilities”. The current trend is to underfund everything and then say “see, we told you so, it doesn’t work. Privatize everything”. Also known as self-fulfilling prophesy.

      One should never elect an official that doesn’t believe in the job they’re doing. They are guaranteed to fail to provide the services they are responsible for – as it is to their direct political benefit to create failure, as is happening in the prison system right now.

      • ebrun

        But Christopher, my point is that if things are as bad here as you, Mr. Mills and other liberals claim, why do folks keep moving here. Certainly not because we provide generous social welfare benefits. There is even a net immigration of licensed school teachers from other states who are hired to teach here.

        • Christopher Lizak

          People move here for the jobs – and that has been true since the creation of Research Triangle Park in the 1950’s. We have a very inelastic economy because of the combination of RTP tach, university, hospital and government jobs. Employment doesn’t move with the economic cycle as much here as it does in areas that are more reliant on private sector jobs in textiles, or tobacco, or even tourism.

          Plus a lot of Yankees think that this is Mayberry, and they can afford three times as much house as they could back home.

        • ebrun

          Not sure I get your point, but for whatever reason, NC’s economy has been prospering for the last few years, providing citizens with more and better jobs and higher per capita and family incomes. This increased economic activity has resulted in a revenue surplus for the state in the last two budget cycles. Another positive result has been the ability of the NCGA to fund a substantial increase in the state’s rainy day fund which will help state government weather the loss of revenue from the next economic downturn.

          • Christopher Lizak

            At the cost of staffing the prisons at dangerously low levels, etc.

            Actions have consequences.

  2. Norma Munn

    Does anyone remember Kent State? Or Attica? Both were the result of unwise and downright stupid use of police and/or military personnel in situations where they should not have been.

    And for the record, after the NY State Police attacked Attica, 43 people died. 9 correction officers, one civilian, and 33 inmates. The inmates caused the death of one correction officer, and 4 inmates during the time they were in control. NYS has paid out roughly $20 million for the mis-conduct of the state police and/or correction officers and/or other officials. (Mis-conduct is a polite word for days of torture, sexual abuse and denial of medical care to the prisoners.)

    The use of the National Guard in prisons is also not fair to those serving in the Guard. Kent State was a tragedy that should never have happened. There was no riot and no guns in the hands of the students.

    Underfunding and underpaying prison personnel always results in problems, both for the corrections personnel and the prisoners.

    Once again, the NC GOP controlled legislature proves itself incapable of learning from other’s mistakes. I’m reminded of an old saying “they don’t have half a brain between them.”

  3. Apply liberally

    And on the environmental front, since 2011, the NCGOP has cut staffing, programs, operational monies, and oversight capability at the DENR/DEQ. This has resulted in the Dan River spill, GenX contamnation of the Cape Fear River, the SolarBees fiasco on Jordan Lake, the loss of stream buffer zones leading to more sedimentation on our waters (which harms fish and wildlife), less testing of air and water quality, and NO real planning and preparation for sea level rise. It’s what happens when your chief goal is cutting taxes on businesses, reducing regulated protection of natural resources (all to save big business money), and a laissez-faire approach to economic development.

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