This legislative session in Raleigh has been a bloodbath.
A couple of days ago, legislative leaders received a letter from major GOP donors and business leaders expressing concern about the direction of the current session. They were very concerned about spending, casinos, Medicaid expansion and other items.
In response, the Republicans split off the casinos into a separate bill. But the state budget remains larded down with huge spending increases including but not limited to Medicaid expansion. I quickly scanned the state budget– comprising 611 pages— and it is a progressive/socialist wish list. It does, however, include more tax cuts. I don’t know where that leaves the state’s balance sheet in the long run. Mercifully, we have had generous surpluses in the recent past, but that might turn quickly with Medicaid expansion. Expenses on charity programs typically far exceed projections.
I found it interesting that the budget includes state-based Obamacare exchanges. Ten years ago, these were considered to be a big mistake, and I posted about it back then. But now with the Raleigh Republicans caving on Medicaid expansion, I suppose this is just icing on the cake.
In addition, it was pressure from the state legislature that led officials in the town of Summerfield to cave to David Couch— the developer who wants to turn Summerfield into an extension of Greensboro. It is a sorry spectacle– town officials giving Couch everything he wanted in order to cash in on the tax revenues and prevent the land from leaving its jurisdiction.
Some national observers have complained that Republicans claim to be conservatives, but they don’t do any conserving. The only question is whether it is due to their reflexive stance of betrayal and surrender; or whether it is to reward large donors. I suspect it is a combination of both.