It is time to start putting 2020 in the rear-view mirror. And run as fast we can to 2021.
When the NC General Assembly reconvenes on January 13, 2021, there will be new faces in place as a result of the 2020 election when more than 5.5 million of the state’s 7.3 million registered voters cast their votes. That 75% record voter turnout resulted in a 28-22 Republican majority in the NC Senate and a 69-51 Republican majority in the NC House.
Here are a couple of differences to consider. First, the four-seat increase in the House for the Reform Majority will make for some interesting decisions compared to 2020’s legislative session when Cooper held up teacher pay increases, critical money for infrastructure and money for cities and counties to try to force the Reform Majority to cave in to his wishes for Medicaid expansion. The Governor now has to face the fact that there are now four more votes probably more likely to vote to override any veto he decides to use to stop legislation.
Second, there are now two more conservative voices on the NC Supreme Court to join Justice Paul Newby if election recount numbers hold up and he becomes Chief Justice of the Court. (Currently, Newby is up 433 votes as of noon Wednesday and the recount continues today with Mecklenburg, Guilford and Forsyth still to be counted)
That would make the Supreme Court’s make-up 3 Republicans and 4 Democrats, compared to the 6-1 majority now held by Democrats. Important decisions by the Court on the constitutionality of key legislative votes and other items that impact NC families and businesses could be very interesting to watch this year with these changes.
We hope that the leadership of the General Assembly will hold fast to its path in recent years of fiscal responsibility, increasing the quality of education for our children, and boosting free enterprise while protecting individual freedoms.
Joe Coletti, one of the fiscal and tax policy gurus over at the John Locke Foundation, wrote a thoughtful piece on the basics of why we must constantly consider the positives and negatives of government debt, taxes, bonds and overall spending, especially now when the COVID epidemic has strained government resources. Speaking of the years before the Reform Majority ascended to legislative leadership in 2010, he noted that “Between 2001 and 2010, state lawmakers repeatedly extended higher sales taxes on the poor and income taxes on businesses and people with higher incomes, then cut jobs for government employees because there still was not enough tax revenue when the economy slowed.”
Coletti noted that “Since 2011, the North Carolina General Assembly has restrained spending (consumption) and used a portion of the excess revenue to build up savings that could be used for unexpected expenses, such as Hurricanes Matthew in 2016 and Florence in 2018 or this year’s Great Suppression. In contrast, Gov. Roy Cooper has proposed spending much more each year than the legislature, diverting money from the unemployment insurance trust fund, taking on $5 billion in new debt, and spending the entire $1.5 billion fund balance this fiscal year. Each of Cooper’s recommendations would make future tax hikes or spending cuts all but inevitable even with similar economic growth.”
This encapsulates the history of the last decade of conservative leadership in the legislature and shows the way for future action. In spite of the mega-millions of dollars spent by national billionaires to defeat Reform Majority candidates in our legislative elections, and the constant socialist cries for the Great Reset and a return to the tax-and-spend spendthrift ways of past liberal leadership, we are counting on the Reform Majority to hold fast, stay the course and continue to lead our state with wisdom, courage and grace.