Thanks to NC’s budget, unemployment back on the rise

After the 2010 election cycle, the republicans took over the majority in the house and senate.  During their campaigns they made lots of promises about creating jobs.  In practice they did the opposite.  The big item during the session was the state budget and dealing with the shortfall.  It seemed like from the beginning, they were more focused on cutting out state into the past than they were about creating jobs and moving our state forward.

In fact, it seemed like at every opportunity during the budget debate, they did more to hurt jobs.  They attacked tax credits like the state eitc and the child care credit, that encourage low-income families to work.  They seemed to want to cut every environmental program and had their hearts set on defunding Planned Parenthood.  They wanted to increase rates on small finance loans, and roll back the financial protections the state has become known for.  With all this, it seemed they were more concerned with turning back time and less concerned with creating jobs for the future.

What they did do was ignore calls to take a balance approach to the budget, and chose to make severe cuts rather than some cuts and increased revenues.  The latest unemployment numbers begin to show that.  All the cuts in state government meant cutting lots of jobs or eliminating positions that had yet to be filled.  As a result, there were over 10 thousand fewer jobs available in June.  This may be only the beginning as more agencies make cuts going forward, more jobs will have to be cut.

I fail to see how they delivered on promises of job creation, but see plenty of evidence of eliminating jobs.  They seemed more focused on undoing the work of the past and this holds an eerie resemblance to how republicans in D.C. handled their new-found power.  Less about solving problems and more about a undoing the past.


Does NC’s new leadership care about the poor?

After the 2010 mid-term elections the NC General Assembly changed hands for the first time since reconstruction.  With Republicans now having control, they pledged they would help create jobs and create no new taxes.  It seems that they have forgotten these pledges, or it may be that like most politicians, they said what they needed to get elected so they could carry out their own agenda.  Whatever the case may be, their real agenda is starting to show.  The budget they did in the house and more so in the senate has little to no job creation in it.  In fact, because they have chosen to not take a balanced approach to the budget, all the cuts they are making are adding up to thousands of job losses.  That doesn’t sound like job creation to me.

The troubling thing to me is that they seem to want to balance the budget and govern on the backs of the working poor.  It started in the house where they decided they wanted to end the refund-ability of the State EITC.  If you are unfamiliar the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a federal program meant to help families with lower-income offset some of their tax burden and provide a way to get out of poverty.  NC is one of the states that has enacted a state version of this, that simply put, is a percentage of the filers federal EITC.  Low income families in NC pay a higher portion of their income to taxes because our system is so out of wack.  The average State EITC is about $172, and while that isn’t a lot of money it goes along way to help families living paycheck to paycheck.  In fact, these funds are a direct stimulant to the economy since the majority of these funds are spent directly into local businesses.

Regardless of what these dollars mean to families and the economy, they wanted to take away the refund portion.  Due to some great work by various groups this failed in the House.  It was not a much celebrated victory, because we knew the Senate was likely to take it up as well.  Man, did they ever.  The Senate has now gone a step further.  They are talking about cutting the whole State EITC as well as the Child and Dependent Care tax Credit.  So now, not only do they want to take away a credit that stimulates the economy and helps families make ends meet, they also want to take away a much-needed aid to families to help cover the high cost of child care.  What kind of message does this send to the people of this state.  We want you to take low paying jobs, because we will not work to create more jobs, and we will cut every program designed to help you.

About 50% of those benefiting from the State EITC make between 7 and 12 thousand dollars a year.  Can you imagine trying to pay for food, clothes, transportation, housing, and child care on that salary?  Well a large number of families in this state don’t have to imagine because it is a reality.  These are the families that make this state run, and yet the new leadership wants to cut the tax programs that are designed to offset the tax burden of these families, affectively raising taxes on lower-income families.

I thought the new leadership was supposed to create jobs and create no new tax increases.  They want to cut the corporate tax, but raise taxes on the working class folks of this state.  Their true agenda is coming out and the message from leadership is don’t be poor in this state, because we won’t care!