Political expedience drives up taxpayer cost for needed infrastructure investment :: WRAL.com
CBC Editorial: Wednesday, June 22, 2022; Editorial #8768
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company
For better than a decade the General Assembly has taken a short-term view and failed to invest so North Carolina has quality public schools and top-notch teachers, cutting-edge college and university facilities and equipment, modern public safety and corrections institutions to protect the public, prison workers and inmates, as well stable and up-to-date public buildings and infrastructure.
The consequences of legislative leaders failing to take the long view now are becoming all too apparent. This mismanagement will cost taxpayers plenty.
Costs of labor and materials have skyrocketed. Borrowing money – as federal regulators seek to control inflation – is doubling from historic lows.
No matter where it comes from, it will be North Carolina’s taxpayers who suffer the consequences.
A few years back Gov Roy Cooper proposed a modest recommendation for a referendum on $3.9 billion in bonds: $2 billion for public schools; $500 million for public universities and community colleges along with $900 million for water and sewer projects, the state zoo, and the history museum.
The borrowing costs of that program today are about double what they would have been when Cooper recommended it.
Federal aid, approved as part of the COVID and other legislation, while not insignificant still only addresses a small portion of the state’s dire needs.
There is a simple description for those who fail to take a long-term view of finances and only wait for a crisis to act. Bad financial management.
How else would you describe money managers who have refused $17.3 billion in Medicaid expansion funds since 2014 – money that would have not just helped hundreds of thousands of citizens in need of health care but created thousands of jobs and helped save endangered rural hospitals.
Why? Political expedience. When the primary motivation behind public policy is merely to keep and enhance partisan power, showering business supporters with tax cuts at the cost of the broader public good.
Don’t buy the political slogans spouted by the General Assembly’s leadership PR apparatus.
Poor fiscal management, favoring short-term partisan political gain over long-range planning, leaves our state worse off for it at a time when there should be a consensus around investing in the state’s building and other infrastructure needs.
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