By Becki Gray
Raleigh, NC – North Carolina voters have a choice. We know what we’d get with continued Republican leadership because — through four years of a Republican governor and a decade of legislative initiatives — Republicans have shown us.
If Republicans are in control, we’ll get more of the same: restrained spending, lower taxes, debt reduction, and a buildup in reserves. Republicans have rolled back burdensome regulations, made better investments in education — focusing on students over systems — and invested wisely in infrastructure.
We also know what we’d get with Democrats in control. We know because they’ve told us, through Gov. Roy Cooper’s budgets, vetoes, and through legislation sponsored by Democrats in the General Assembly. If they’re in control, we’ll get big spending, higher taxes, more regulations, a one-size-fits–all education system, and bigger, invasive government.
Cooper’s COVID executive orders shut down the state’s economy, picked winners and losers, choked the life and lifesavings out of small businesses, threw record numbers into unemployment lines, and then proposed raises taxes to help the very people his actions hurt. Schools have been closed since March, throwing parents and students into chaos. The damage to students won’t be known for months or years. Incidents of domestic violence, child abuse, mental health, depression, and substance abuse have escalated. We know who made the decisions, but who will accept the responsibility for the damage?
In his latest budget, Cooper increases spending by $1 billion, spends all the money carried over from last year, and increases debt by $5 billion. He would drain reserve funds to pay recurring expenses, leaving North Carolina vulnerable in the next storm or economic downturn.
The only way to support the increase in spending and expansion of government is increased taxes.
“Millionaires” and “big corporations” are specific targets, but we will all pay in the end. Democrats will bring back the earned income tax credit, the death tax, open tax carve-outs for solar farms and historic building renovations. They’ll increase tax giveaways to Hollywood film makers, removing the protective obscenity clause.
Every Republican budget since 2011 has stayed within the rate of inflation plus population growth. Democrats have rejected every one of them. Cooper has vetoed every budget presented to him. They don’t think we spend enough.
Medicaid expansion will add 643,000 additional enrollees to a program that already covers 20% of the state’s population. Expansion will cost an additional $4 billion to $6 billion a year, leaving us directly responsible for $119 million to $171 million for mostly working age, able–bodied childless adults. Democrats have proposed a statewide universal health care system, which would — conservatively — cost $41 billion in the first year alone, almost double the state budget.
Cooper, if re-elected and supported by a majority in the legislature, would rip school choice out from under thousands of students. He would slash funding and then eliminate the Opportunity Scholarship program. The Democrat candidate for N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction promises to close half the charter schools.
Democrat candidates across the state, if elected, have sworn to remove a ban on collective bargaining, paving the way for the unionization of every state employee. Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Democratic legislative, and local officials supported and cheered on the recent unionization of nurses at Mission Hospital. The intent is to unionize nurses in hospitals across North Carolina. NCAE, flexing its left wing, extreme progressive muscles, has organized and encouraged teacher walkouts and engaged in what they call union activities. They have endorsed all Democrats running for statewide office, including every Democrat running for the N.C. Court of Appeals and N.C. Supreme Court.
We’ve seen shameless manipulation of rules overseeing absentee ballots by a Democrat–controlled Board of Elections, putting the very integrity of our election at risk. Pending lawsuits brought by leftist groups have challenged a voter ID requirement, which voters overwhelmingly approved. Democrats want to reinstate public campaign financing and eliminate the electoral college.
Not satisfied with the separation of powers in our state constitution, Democrats have made numerous unauthorized grabs for power. From a COVID-response overreach by executive order, to extending emergency management authority for months on end, to packing the election boards, to efforts to restructure the Rules Review Commission, Cooper and Democrat leaders have exerted power they didn’t have. When the General Assembly provided a backstop, the left turned to the courts with the intent to “sue ‘til it’s blue,” an effort backed by big–name national Democratic lawyers Eric Holder and Mark Elias.
Cooper and the Democrat city leaders in Raleigh ordered law enforcement to step back as rioters tore down statutes, burned, and looted downtown Raleigh. Addressing lawlessness, vandalism, and businesses across the state, Cooper tweeted, “Let me be clear about one thing. People are more important than property.” Democrat–controlled Asheville has defunded a police force that has seen 30% of the force resign. An Asheville area reporter was viciously attacked by protesters who also delivered a casket full of manure to the police department. Forty-seven Democratic legislative candidates signed a pledge to support a radical leftist group, Future Now Fund’s goals, including “reallocating” resources for law enforcement.
In this election, voters have a clear choice between what two parties propose for North Carolina. We know because they’ve shown and told us what they’ll do. Now, it’s up to us.
Becki Gray is senior vice president at the John Locke Foundation.