June 7, 2016

Everyone who pays attention to what’s going on in state government knows NC Policy Watch, Budget and Tax Center and NC Justice Center are fixtures of the left-wing mind meld in Raleigh.

And that’s fine. Driving a perspective and advocating for policy is what we do here at CPR, too. But we do our best to stick to basic facts and, even when it’s marinated in snark, tell the truth.

The same can’t be said for the folks at Budget and Tax Center. The more conservative reformers make bold moves in Raleigh, the more those Blueprint groups seem to run off the rails. Consider a recent BTC “analysis,” posted on NC Policy Watch and trumpeted on Twitter by the increasingly shrill Rob Schofield:

Headline: Senate is raiding local coffers to pay for tax cuts

From the article: “The North Carolina Senate plans to take $17.6 million currently destined for local governments to pay for part of its newest round of tax cuts… It wasn’t a preordained necessity to stick it to local governments…”

Neat story. But patently false.

When the Senate expanded the sales tax base last year, the changes were originally projected to generate about $69 million for local governments. But to ensure none of the locals lost sales tax revenue, the pool needed to grow by about $17 million, so the legislature kicked in the difference. It turns out the tax changes generated almost $100 million for local governments, so the $17 million wasn’t necessary and it was appropriated elsewhere this year. Local governments didn’t lose revenue. They’re still well above projections.

To accuse legislators of “raiding” or “sticking it to” local governments is either ignorant or dishonest. But BTC won’t retract or correct the story.

Remember, these are the folks who labeled the Senate budget – which included a massive teacher pay raise, tax cuts for the middle class and a slew of other reforms popular among Democrats, Republicans and Unaffiliated voters alike – “cynical, divisive, inadequate, regressive and damaging.” That’s some analysis.

It’s fine to put a left-wing spin on the news of the day. But if the Schofield crowd can’t help but twist basic truths and scream over-the-top insults, they should do the public a great service: change their name to NC Partisan Watch and come clean about their motives. Or, quit the policy game and hop on a campaign where the truth is optional.

We’re happy to recommend a few.