CHOICES AND COOPERATION

In his budget and State of the State address, Governor Cooper dumped a grab bag full of spending notions on the table while avoiding choices.

Example: The Governor wants double-digit raises for teachers who already average about $50,000 a year. Equal raises for good teachers and bad teachers. Nothing about rewarding our best with bigger raises or changing the tenure system that protects our worst.

Obviously, the Governor’s union backers wouldn’t tolerate reform. They just want more money for the system – and for their own big salaries.

The Governor wants more for Pre-K. But he’s denying parents an opportunity scholarship to send their first grader to a better school than the one the bureaucrats assigned the child to.

President Reagan had a defense buildup. DEQ Secretary Regan gets a regulatory buildup.

In all, the Governor’s wish list hikes spending twice as fast as the conservative majority has, a billion dollar spending increase in year one alone.

And while the Governor pushes a bigger, reformless government, he calls for bipartisan cooperation. That’s good. Republicans and Democrats should cooperate if the people are going to benefit.

Here are two ideas for common ground: The Governor says he is against raising taxes.

So will he support the Constitutional Amendment limiting income tax to no more than the current 5.5%? It just passed the Senate on a bipartisan vote.

The Governor talks about school bonds. Only let’s marry them with reform by using half the money for an opportunity scholarship endowment so the right of a parent to choose a better school for their child becomes permanent. Instead of killing opportunity scholarships going forward as his budget does, why not embrace something 70 percent of parents support? Work with Republicans on school bonds funding an opportunity scholarship endowment and get a public spirited investment genius like a Julian Robertson to run it.

Now THAT is bipartisanship that will help our state.