In recent weeks, the GOP has been bragging about good news for North Carolina. According to them, their tax reform that shifted the tax burden from the wealthy to middle class has worked. So far this fiscal year, North Carolina has a revenue surplus. But it’s come at a steep price.
For years, we’ve known that the GOP was shrinking government at the expense of our public schools and universities. Now, it looks like it comes at the expense of our safety, too. According to Secretary of Public Safety Frank Perry, budget cuts to his department have hampered terrorist investigations in North Carolina.
Perry says that the legislature’s budget interrupted ongoing investigations and disrupted “information-sharing connections with local and federal agencies.” He called the cuts a “’dangerous’ and short-sighted move that has hampered efforts to detect and prevent crime, including terrorism, in North Carolina.” Those are strong words at a time when people across the country are feeling insecure about another terrorist attack.
The legislators, though, took it in stride. They saved money! They made government more efficient! And most of all, they cut taxes! You know, smaller government and all that.
Republicans have a problem in Frank Perry. He’s got a bad habit of telling the truth. First, he let us know that one of Pat McCrory’s Charlotte buddies was demanding a contract extension for all the campaign contributions he’d made. That’s commonly called pay-to-play and it’s being investigated by the FBI.
Now, Perry’s telling the truth about the legislature. It’s not just that they cut his budget. They meddled in his department. Big Government conservatives aren’t just telling the department head to make cuts, they’re telling him how to do it. According to Perry, the budget eliminated two specific leadership positions without consulting law enforcement. By micromanaging state government, they’ve put North Carolinians at risk.
In 2014, Democrats in North Carolina outperformed Republicans in almost every other state in the nation because of GOP overreach. Back then, the issue was primarily cuts to education. As we enter 2016, with the country on edge about terrorism, the GOP put slashing government and cutting taxes ahead of protecting citizens. Republicans can crow about their budget surplus all they want, but the voters are more concerned with their safety.