Pete's Prep: Wednesday, April 25, 2018

NC Governor Cooper's disastrous disaster response

After a series of reports from WBTV exposed how victims of Hurricane Matthew were still not getting any relief funding, former Governor Pat McCrory criticized the response and offered to help lead an effort.

"I take it personally — as governor I made a promise to those citizens impacted by the floods that the state would help them," McCrory told the NC Insider on Monday. "When I see a lack of action, it means that promise was broken."

Hurricane Matthew hit the East Coast in October 2016.

McCrory, a Republican, lost to Cooper, a Democrat, in November 2016.

"Sadly, the federal money which I began the process to get has just sat and done nothing," McCrory said. "There doesn't seem to be any energy directed out of the governor's office to make things happen."

Cooper spokesman Ford Porter disputed that.

"Disaster recovery is often a long-term process and requires bipartisan leaders to put politics aside to get the job done, which the former governor may not fully appreciate in his current role as a regional conservative talk-radio host," he said in an email.

Gov. Cooper's disaster response has been so impotent that his spokesman has resorted to mocking the former Governor.

Who actually did a good job at disaster response.

For longer than Cooper has.

People forget how badly Democrats managed NC finances

One of the challenges of hold the majority in the NC General Assembly since 2011 is that there are a lot of people who have moved into the state since then, and they have no idea what things were like in North Carolina before the GOP wave in 2010.

John Hood, President of the conservative John Locke Foundation, penned an op-ed that ran in multiple newspapers across the state yesterday, where he touted the budget and tax reforms enacted by Republicans.

He cited a new report from the state controller's office that shows a $600 million budget surplus over the first three quarters of the fiscal year. And Republicans have put $1.8 billion into the state's rainy day fund, which would likely prevent tax hikes and massive layoffs in the event of another deep recession.

As you might expect, news that North Carolina is running a revenue surplus so far this year has spending lobbies in Raleigh licking their chops. I would urge them not to start ordering steak or lobster. For one thing, the state doesn't yet have a report on April tax filings, which always play a disproportionate role in determining annual revenue collections.

More importantly, today's legislative leaders have studied their recent history. They know that in the past, state budgets zoomed during boom years only to run into recessionary brick walls. In each case -- in the 1990-92, 2001-03, and 2009-11 periods, the Democrats then in charge resorted to large tax increases, primarily regressive sales-taxes hikes, to help fill North Carolina's budget holes. These tax hikes punished struggling families at just the wrong time, and hampered the state's economic recovery.

House Speaker Tim Moore, Senate leader Phil Berger, and their colleagues are determined not to repeat this sad history. There are real needs, to be sure, in such areas as prison safety, school security, and pay increases for critical public employees. Lawmakers will tend to them. But they'll continue to keep overall spending growth from surging above a sustainable level.

You may recall that Democrats, progressive activist groups, and many in the media predicted economic calamity and budget catastrophe.

Or maybe you're new around here.

Asheville City Council closes budget gap

The City had a million dollar budget hole to fill, which prompted discussions about increases in property taxes and other fees.

Well, at a work session yesterday, the Council arrived at the outlines of a plan.

Jason Sandford at has the details:

The key informal decisions that City Council arrived at Tuesday included: offering employees a 2.5 percent pay increase rather than a 3 percent raise; making a change to parking deck fees that will bring in more money; cut the Asheville Police Department’s police academy funding by $800,000 rather than the previously discussed $400,000; and pull $200,000 from the city’s reserved fund balance.

The move to slash police funding comes in response to the Johnnie Rush police beating video.

Not mentioned - the record spike in Asheville homicides this year.

But, I'm sure fewer cops will help.

Pete Kaliner

Pete Kaliner

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