Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A Conservative Viewpoint
- A 12-Step Recovery Program For N.C.

Article by Bob Steinburg
- Edenton, North Carolina: Cradle of the Colony

Six weeks prior to the Congressional elections in November 1994, the Republican Party offered voters a “Contract with America,” describing the reforms they promised to make if they gained control of the House of Representatives. They hadn’t controlled the House in 40 years.

Voters responded overwhelmingly at the polls and elected a Republican House and Senate for the first time since 1953. In the end, a good deal of the contract was enacted.

While Congressional Republicans waited 40 years for another opportunity to govern our country, the state Republicans have never controlled both houses of our state legislature at the same time. As a result of one party rule for more than 150 years in North Carolina, the Democrats have literally had to answer to no one.

Republicans nationally were fair game in the 2006 Congressional elections for abandoning fiscal responsibility; North Carolina Democrats are all the more so this November. We’re the highest taxed state in the southeast yet our roads and infrastructure continue to deteriorate. We were once referred to as this nation’s “good roads state.”

Education Week magazine recently reported that our high school graduation rate is well below the national average. It also confirmed that North Carolina has the 12th highest rate of high school dropouts in the nation. Yet Democrats refuse to offer its citizens much of a choice in education, including their limiting the number of charter schools and refusing to even consider vouchers. Instead they continue to cave in to National Education Association and North Carolina Education Association lobbyists, referred to by many as a partisan extension of the national and state Democratic executive committees.

North Carolina has the eighth largest illegal alien population in the country with more than 500,000 illegals living here today. In fact national reports estimate we have the fastest growing illegal alien population of anywhere in the nation. This can only continue to negatively impact our schools, health care, government services and economy.

The North Carolina GOP should promote a contract with the citizens of our state that would guarantee real change should Republicans win both houses of the legislature and capture a majority of the seats on the Council of State which includes, the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, State Auditor, Attorney General, Commissioner of Labor, Commissioner of Agriculture, Secretary of State, Commissioner of Insurance and the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

If our state legislature were a corporation, the stockholders would have fired many of its executives long ago for mismanagement, embezzlement, a lack of vision for the future and for delivering few dividends. Show them all the door – enough is enough.

If North Carolina Republicans are fortunate enough to gain control of our state government I have some legislative suggestions for them to consider within their first 30 days of convening in 2009:

1) Impose term limits for House speaker and President pro-tem of the Senate to no more than one two-year term. Our state government has become stale and inefficient. We need a new vision and we need new visionaries.

2) Establish Health Care freedom legislation enabling citizens to purchase insurance from outside the state, which is currently not allowed. Limit benefit mandates. The result-more competitive insurance rates.

3) Eliminate the current cap North Carolina has on charter schools. Parents need to be given school choice while we continue to find new ways to improve public schools. No child should be collateral damage in a school that is failing.

4) Protect individual property rights by enacting legislation to limit involuntary annexation.

5) Mandate that any new debt issue be subject to voter approval. The Democratically controlled North Carolina legislature increased the state’s debt $694 million last year while recommending we add another $672 million to this year’s budget. With Tar Heels struggling to maintain fiscal discipline at home, we should expect no less from our state legislature.

6) Stop the annual transfer from the Highway Trust Fund to the general fund to be spent elsewhere on other projects instead of being spent where it was intended- for highway construction and maintenance. Submit a road bond referendum to voters for additional infrastructure needs.

7) Pledge, and then deliver, no tax increases.

8) Increase jobs by improving North Carolina’s business climate. The non-partisan Tax Foundation states we have the 27th highest corporate tax in the country and our overall business climate is ranked the 11th worst. Cut corporate taxes.

9) Crack down on our exploding illegal alien population by enacting legislation similar to that of Georgia which among other things requires verification that adults who seek state administered benefits are in the U. S. legally; penalizes employers who knowingly employ illegal aliens and requires police to check the status of people they arrest.

10) Eliminate gerrymandering and redraw a bi-partisan district map that insures fair and equal elections leading to true representation.

11) Encourage the federal government to lift the ban on offshore drilling for oil in North Carolina as a pathway to lessen our dependency on foreign oil.

12) Establish a 72-hour cooling off period before a vote is taken on any state budget.

Alcoholics Anonymous has a 12-step program for recovery from alcoholism that has improved the lives of millions of folks suffering from alcohol dependency throughout the world.

If the state GOP adopts a 12-step program similar to this one it should cure not only our Democrat controlled legislature’s addiction to spending and corruption once and for all but be a catharsis for many of us who up until now have contributed to this tragedy by our apathy, ignorance and indifference to what’s been going on in Raleigh for too long.

Bob has provided some good ideas about what could be done to improve our state, but it presumes that the people of N.C. understand who caused the problem. The latest polls from the Civitas Institute do not give much encouragement. Republicans have not had control of the Legislature but for a couple of election cycles during the last century, and the last time was more than a generation ago. Yet on issue after issue the people of N.C. think that Republicans caused the problem and Democrats are the best chance to fix the problem.

When our fellow citizens blame a party that has not been in power for problems they had no control over, and think that the party which created the problems is the best chance to fix them, (even though their stated intent is opposite what the people claim they want) who can believe we have any chance of improving government. All signs indicate we will get simply more of the same thing we have had. There is little wonder the corruption of Black, Wright and Balance are typical of Democrat Leadership. It seems to be what the people want.

Public opinion right now is totally out of touch with reality. What I would like to see Bob do is explain why the people vote for the same people who caused the problems they are mad about. That to me is simply bizarre.


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