Would North Carolinians favor increasing revenues over drastic cuts in some budget areas?

This week is particularly hard on legislators in Raleigh and in many of our cities and towns as they go through the budget process. Many of the decisions made will devastate lives and some of our lawmakers don't take these decisions lightly. The budget cuts will have a disproportionate negative impact on young children, the elderly and those living in poverty. Yesterday I spoke with Rep. Tricia Cotham about the cuts. She is painfully aware of the budget situation but doesn't feel it is right to place the burden of balancing the budget square on the shoulders of those least able to bear that burden.

How can we take away so much from them without considering revenue options? These are the people we are here to protect.

Last week at BlueNC we ran an informal poll asking if tax increases should be considered as part of our budget solution and the response was overwhelmingly in favor of increasing revenues to help buffer cuts, but in this tea-bagging, tax-cutting world we live in it is highly unlikely our legislators will stop cowering in the corner long enough to do the fiscally responsible and socially compassionate thing. It's just so much easier to cower in the corner and take money from children, the disabled, the elderly, the dying and the poor.

Anzalone Liszt ran a poll in North Carolina approaching the budget question in regards to a specific cut being considered - reduction of home health and hospice care, however the results give a general idea of what North Carolina residents want to see trimmed. The respondents do not want to see cuts in medicaid, public schools or public universities. As a matter of fact, the respondents said that cuts in certain programs would make them far less likely to vote for a legislator. The questionnaire and responses can be found here.

The poll doesn't directly support the idea that North Carolinians would be willing to pay higher taxes, but the overwhelming support for some categories leaves the impression that if deep enough cuts were made in certain areas North Carolinians would tolerate modest tax increases to protect the areas of the budget they want to protect. Here's one page from the PDF report linked above.

It takes compassion to speak up for the most vulnerable among us and if you hold public office it takes political courage to make decisions that might not always be popular. However, according to the numbers above, North Carolina citizens appear to support those programs that protect children, seniors, the disabled and the poor. Maybe it's time we demand that our legislators agree with those of us who hire and fire them, rather than the folks who simply fatten their war chests. Cotham plans to do just that, regardless of the political cost.

It is time that we stand up and advocate for the most vulnerable populations. That's what I plan to do

I say it's time to hit the phones and get some folks lining up beside her.


my Rep., Deborah Ross told me

my Rep., Deborah Ross told me she supports 'tax increases'. Three dozen states are looking at increases in beer taxes to help close the budget gaps they are experiencing.

Corporations don't pay taxes

They may cut the checks, but they don't actually pay the taxes. Individuals(consumers, shareholders, etc.) are the only entities who really pay taxes.

I still like the solution

that the Governor of Hawaii put forth;

Gov. Linda Lingle has ordered three days of unpaid furloughs each month for 14,500 state employees to help erase a $729 million budget shortfall.

It spreads the pain out evenly and more thinly and can't possibly be as harsh as some of the measures I've heard we are considering.

I will only support tax

I will only support tax increases if they are matched dollar for dollar with real spending cuts (not a reduction in an proposed increase).

I can recommend two positions at NC State they need to cut which should lead to over $400,000 in savings/year!

I have a feeling the cuts would surpass

the tax increases and if you look at the graphic there are a lot of people who feel state employees should see their ranks reduced.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Real leadership doesn't involve polling

As a professional political staffer, I live and breathe polling and never... NEVER have I seen a poll where the public supports tax increases or opposes cuts in government spending.

Sometimes the right thing to do is the least popular thing to do and at some points in time, it does not matter what the people think. This is one of those times. People don't understand the ramifications of such draconian spending cuts, nor do they understand the value of their tax dollars in a deep and possibly prolonged economic crisis. That's why taxes aren't voluntary and (unless you're California) tax policy isn't left up to the people.

Rep. Cotham is showing real courage in this fight by challenging the Democratic leadership to do what's right, no matter the political cost. Lets support her and those who follow her lead, because this is truly a defining moment in NC political history - one that will sift out the courageous Democrats from those who merely put a D next to their name.

I will remember this moment.

--- Willie

If this is where they lead, I won't follow

Reps. Luebke, Weiss, Michaux and others in House leadership and "safe" districts:

Consider yourself on notice. You've put immoral cuts to the least among us on the table while forcing through the Apple tax cut bill.

If this is not merely some political gambit to raise the revenue necessary to serve the already underserved in these terrible economic times, you have failed and must be replaced.

As much as I may agree with you on social policy and other topics dear to me, you are close to failing in the biggest responsibility of your legislative job -- the state's budget.

It's primary recruiting time.


I couldn't have said it better myself!

This is why we elect Leaders to represent us and do what is in our best interest. They all know what needs to be done, why don't need political will they just need guts.

Anthony D. Hall,

Fighting for Truth, Justice, Freedom and the American Way!

It's real simple...

NC Elected Democrats need to get a Back Bone! It is very likely that although on the national scene Democrats may pick up a few more seats in 2010, but if we don't get our act together on the State level we could possible lose seats. Think about it, the Far Right will have more than enough to hit us over the head with. Furloughs, Lay Offs, Pay Cuts are very popular, and quite frankly was Political Suicide.

I know that Bev has our best interest in mind and I still support our Governor but we need to come out and tell it like it is. We need to increase Taxes, NOT CUT PROGRAMS, NOT LAYOFF STATE EMPLOYEES! Lets Bite the Bullet on this and get it done! We all know it is going to happen lets do it now and get it over with. We can't wait. The Longer we wait to do it the better it will be for the Republicans.

If we wait then not only will they attempt to hit Democrats on the Furloughs and Layoffs they will hit us for the inevitable tax increases also. We do it now by the time 2010 rolls around the tax increases will be in the rear view mirror.

Anthony D. Hall,

Fighting for Truth, Justice, Freedom and the American Way!

Hey, Democratic primary voters!

The House leadership's abhorrent budget got you down too?

Listen to TBoz:

Every now and then I get a little easy.
I let a lot of people depend on me.
I never though they would ever deceive me.
Don't you know when times got rough
I was standing on my own.

I'll never let another get that close to me.
You see I've grown a lot smarter now.
Sometimes you have to choose and then you'll see,
If your friends is true they'll be there with you through the thick and thin.