What a difference a speaker makes. If you want to blame one person for this session of the legislature dragging into September, Tim Moore would be the man. It’s not because he’s failing. It’s because he’s doing his job.
For the past few session, the legislature has adjourned in a relatively timely manner. Back then, they had a nice rhythm. Session would begin. The Senate would tell everybody what was going to happen. Thom Tillis and Pat McCrory would start to protest. Phil Berger and company would roll over them. They would go home.
Back then, former Speaker and now Senator Thom Tillis had far more important things to do than actually govern. The governor was still a duck out of water trying to find the pond and only landing in mud puddles. Berger was the only one who had an agenda and a plan and knew how the legislature worked.
McCrory is still stuck in the mud but Tim Moore has shown that he can run with the big dogs. He understands that staying in Raleigh is part of his leverage. Like Berger, he knows that the gerrymandered districts will probably protect his title and that next year, few voters will remember what happened during this session of the legislature. Everybody wants to go home, but he’s not leaving until he gets some of what he wants. And he’s getting it.
So far, Moore has gotten some of the tax credits for the film industry. He’s stopped the sales tax redistribution. He’s keeping teacher assistants. He may reach a deal on restoring the historic renovation tax credits.
Are there trade offs? Sure. Are they bad for most North Carolinians? Probably. Do I like what’s coming down the pike with the budget? Hell no.
But Moore has proven himself to be a much more effective Speaker than his predecessor. Clearly, the legislature is his priority, not his political future. He understands the way the body works and he’s been working it.