The Republican Party is energized and excited for the next election cycle! The NCGOP had a near record turnout for their June 3-5 convention in Wilmington—quite amazing since it is an off -year election and there wasn’t a contested race for Party Chairman. Delegates across the state showed up enthusiastic and ready to start working on the 2011 and 2012 elections.
The Republican elected officials at every level: county, state and national, are making giant strides in fulfilling their campaign promises while trying to bring fiscal restraint and responsibility to the government. It is not easy to tell people “no”, especially when it involves a popular program. However, when the government is literally out of money it is the responsible answer. This is the difference between a politician and a statesman. A politician will say whatever voters want to hear to keep getting elected, whereas a statesman will tell voters what has to happen for the good of the country even if it costs him votes. Fortunately we have Statesmen at every level of government.
An example of a statesman is Rep. Paul Ryan, who is trying to rein in the Federal Government’s out of control budget. It’s easy to just tell voters we will continue to fund every program and just continue to borrow money from China to fund it. When you toss around figures of a billion or a trillion dollar it is easy to think of it as an exercise in economic theory and not real money. To put the budget situation in everyday terms, imagine someone that makes $35,000 a year. While that is not a lot of money, you can survive on that salary if you spend wisely. But instead of budgeting and spending wisely, imagine that same person spends $70,000 a year. After several years of spending twice his salary, this guy now is $200,000 in debt and continues to spend more on credit cards. He is teetering on the verge of financial disaster. This person demands to drive a new Mercedes every year. He demands to live in a spacious lake front home. Instead of cooking at home, he eats out every night at the best restaurants. This is where America is right now. Congressman Ryan is acting like a financial adviser. He is telling America that this level of spending cannotbe sustained. Instead of driving a new Mercedes every year, Rep. Ryan is saying to “buy a reliable Ford”, instead of a lake front mansion, “buy a more moderate home in a nice neighborhood”, instead of eating at the finest restaurants every night, “learn to cook your own meals”. Under Rep. Ryan’s plan the needs of this man are still met but in a manner that he can afford. Instead of embracing this fiscally responsible plan, the Democrats are claiming that Rep. Ryan’s plan will leave the man hungry and homeless. Fortunately most Americans can see through those claims and continue to support the Congressman’s efforts to cut spending.
At the state level, after 140 years of Democrat dominance, the Republicans are in charge of both chambers of the State House. The Democrats left the budget in a 3.7 billion dollar hole that is over 10% of this year’s $19 billion budget. Before the Republicans could even begin to address this year’s budget needs, they had to cover the democrat’s deficit. Two years ago, Gov. Perdue and the Democrats instituted a “temporary” one year one cent sales tax. When asked how we could be sure that the sales tax was temporary, Gov. Perdue answered, “Because I am Governor”. Instead of a one-year tax, it was again “temporarily” extended another year. This year the Republicans insisted that the State adhere to their promise and end the temporary tax. Even facing these hurdles, under Speaker Tillis and Senate Leader Berger’s leadership, the State Legislature has produced a budget that fully funds every teacher and teacher assistant. Now Gov. Perdue has vetoed the budget because she claims it will do decades of damage to the school system. The truth is that the K-12 education budget in the Republican budget is only 0.5 percent less than Gov. Perdue’s original proposal. The biggest difference is that the Republicans cut the bloated bureaucracy. Make no mistake, there are some very tough cuts in this budget, programs that are successful and popular will be scaled back. Real people will be affected by these cuts. That is not lost on the Republican leadership. However, when there is no money available, then cuts must be made. Statesmen are willing to make the tough decisions that may be unpopular but are necessary to restore NC to fiscal responsibility.
The Union County Commissioners are still working on the county budget, but they have declared that they will not raise taxes. The commissioners understand that NC is already the highest taxed state in the South East and raising taxes in this economic climate would be disastrous.
I am proud to be part of the Republican Party and of our leaders that are willing to sacrifice short term popularity to ensure long term prosperity for our county, state and country.