Senate budget spells bad news for people in need.
By Jim Goodmon
I have had a great week. The Senate budget was written just for me. Let me tell you about it.
First, they lowered the personal income tax rate for the highest income level, and since I am in that group, I want to thank them all. Now I will not move the family to Florida.
Less state revenue means a cut in expenses, but no problem.
The notables cut funding for teen drug courts, juvenile justice programs and other alternative sentencing programs, but I guess they did not see the WRAL-TV documentary that pointed out that 60 percent of the North Carolina prison population is made up of young black males, even though they are 10 percent of the state’s total population.
Folks, we have a crisis in our court system. The Senate leadership, for some reason, does not think of this as their problem. Maybe I should send them a DVD of the program.
Next, they reduced the corporate income tax rate. That’s right. Lower taxes for Capitol Broadcasting Company. I have decided to keep CBC here after all.
The truth is there are so many tax loopholes for North Carolina corporations that you cannot tell what the rate is. Looks like nobody in the Senate read that report. Congratulations to North Carolina Citizens for Business and Industry.
What expenses do we cut to offset this revenue loss?
Easy. A reduction in benefits to poor, blind, elderly Tar Heels will more than close the gap.
The radical right “thinkers” and Curtis Media “talkers” on WPTF tell us we should be tired of all “those” people mooching off the rest of us and that it is time to stop the cycle of dependency.
They are sure that poor people really want to be poor and there are not that many poor people anyway.
Judging by the $167 million in human service cuts, the Senate leadership seems to agree.
It just gets better and better.
Finally, the Senate also approved a lottery. I didn’t think that would happen since the votes were not there to pass it. But they figured out how to avoid a real vote on the lottery. Good work. Party loyalty and all that.
We have come a long way from the concept of the public voting on the lottery to the Democratic Senate not allowing anyone to vote on it. You know, the end justifies the means.
Thank goodness most of our senators just sit there and follow instructions. It does make me wonder why we have more than 4 or 5 Senators. The others have no input, cannot debate, always vote as ordered, and for some reason accept their irrelevancy. Go figure.
Back to the lottery. The Senate wants lottery advertising! They want the ads to say that when you play the lottery you are helping schools.
No trouble here. All I have to do is run false advertising on my stations and head to the bank. Capitol Broadcasting will make millions on lottery advertising.
So I am three for three. Lower personal income tax, lower corporate income tax, and millions for lottery advertising. And just think, this nonsense comes from a 278-page budget document that nobody had time to read…much less discuss.
Finally, it is clear that our Senate leadership does not know where we are as a state, does not have a shared vision about where we should be in the future, and has no coherent plan to move us forward.
The appropriate word is dysfunctional.
And my grandfather told me that how you do what you do is as important as what you do.
But not to worry. I got mine.
Jim Goodmon is CEO of Capitol Broadcasting Co., which owns WRAL and other television and radio stations, and chairman of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, which publishes the Philanthropy Journal.