Friday, June 05, 2009

Instruction: How to persuade the public to raise taxes

Like every other government, company and household in the United State (and probably the world), the State of North Carolina is being squeezed by the economy. $4.2 billion in the hole on a $21.4 billion budget, the state House has allowed out details of a budget proposal due Monday. On the surface, it seems to be just what the doctor ordered--massive cuts in expenditures and no tax increases.

But wait...could it be that this was merely the first step in a cunning plan to persuade the public to accept new taxes--even though raising taxes in a recession is exactly the wrong move?

Deep state budget cuts could strip crucial resources from public health agencies and hospitals just in time for the expected arrival of a potentially nastier version of the H1N1 flu virus this fall, North Carolina's public health chief warned Thursday.

and

The state schools chief wants legislators to raise taxes to spare schools and other state agencies some of the most dramatic of the impending budget cuts.

and

State legislators did not need to get their hearing checked. The crowd in front of the Legislative Building on Tuesday really was asking lawmakers to raise taxes.

More than 100 leaders and supporters of nonprofits, service organizations and professional associations warned of the likely damage from the sort of state budget cuts being discussed by the legislature. Many of the groups rely on state government for at least a portion of their funding or for their members' salaries.

and

UNC system President Erskine Bowles is calling in reinforcements in the battle over the budget.

Bowles sent e-mail messages to the UNC Board of Governors and the UNC system's chancellors, asking them to activate their supporters to contact legislators over the weekend and early this week. And he offered talking points with the clear message that an 11 percent budget cut, now under discussion in the House, "would have severe and lasting negative impacts on student access and the quality of education our universities can offer."

and finally, the money shot from the gov herself

Gov. Beverly Perdue said Thursday that a tax increase might be needed to prevent "horrific"cuts in government services as state leaders try to close a projected $4.6 billion shortfall in North Carolina's budget.

Now, let it be known that I'm an employee of said state government in An Agency That Must Remain Nameless. (Yeah, I don't like it and I often feel hypocritical since I have no major love for government at any level. However, it's a job in an area that no longer has a lot of jobs for folks with my particular skill set. Sometimes you have to swallow to keep food on the table.) My job is on the line here. Being laid off will hurt in more ways than I care to think about.

I want each and every one of you who is a North Carolina voter to write your state representative, your state senator and the governor and urge each of them to support the House budget. This is our best chance in a decade to seriously reduce the size of state government. For our families and our futures, this is what must happen.

No comments: