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Political Insanity: The Bev Perdue Legacy

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[Editor’s Note: Nathan Tabor recently launched the website Veto Perdue as an action step following this posted letter.]

It’s often noted that Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result. Apparently the Democrats in Washington, DC, and in the state of North Carolina — especially the governor — are unaware of that truism.

Governor Bev Perdue, like so many politicians with illusions of grandeur, openly acknowledges she wishes her legacy to highlight that she was North Carolina’s “jobs governor.” But like so many Democrats in Washington, DC, and state houses across the nation she believes the way to correct a problem — be it economic or social — is to throw money at it: Specifically, taxpayers’ money.

Unfortunately, unlike her Democrat Party brethren in the White House, Perdue can’t simply have the U.S. Mint print up more paper money her. Which means in order to pay for new programs or continue those already milking taxpayers, the governor must increase revenue through taxes, surcharges and penalties.

While Governor Perdue hasn’t signed any significant pieces of state legislation, she has used her veto power to stifle fiscal responsibility. According to the state’s news media Governor Perdue is the reigning North Carolina Empress of the Veto. In fact, she has used her veto power more times than all of our previous governors put together. That’s quite a feat: 15 vetoes and still counting.

While never introducing meaningful legislation and behaving more as a “figurehead” governor who attends functions and ceremonies, Perdue displays a penchant for vetoing the bills of lawmakers who actually work on legislation designed to strengthen the state’s economy and help the state’s workforce.  Her record of vetoes has also revealed that the governor further to the left of the political spectrum than she projects in her speeches and rhetorical flourishes. 

In succession, Governor Perdue vetoed:

* The Balanced Budget Act of 2011 that would have helped avert a $2 billion budget gap.

* The Healthcare Freedom Act that would have allowed North Carolina to join other states in fighting Obamacare and its intrusiveness.

* A reform of the state employees’ health plan.

* A bill that would have allowed community colleges to opt out of a federal loan program that actually threatened the financial stability of those educational institutions.

Also, when North Carolina had lost its eligibility to receive extended unemployment benefits for many of the state’s unemployed, Republican lawmakers passed legislation changing the method used to calculate the unemployment rate, thereby allowing the jobless to continue receiving benefits. 

But Perdue noted a provision in the bill that would have enacted a continuing resolution if the budget was not passed by June 30. The resolution would have locked in spending at 87 percent of the amount contained in Perdue’s own budget proposal, until a final budget bill was finalized. Perdue vetoed this legislation saying she objected to the continuing resolution.

The unemployment benefits extension fight continued into the budget debate. Perdue later issued an executive order of dubious legality restoring the funds, just as Republicans were about to pass a budget doing the same thing but within the bounds of legal action.

Of course, Perdue couldn’t resist playing politics and attempted to promulgate the fiction that she and she alone got the unemployment benefits extension for North Carolina’s unemployed.

When a temporary sales tax increase was due to expire, Republican lawmakers decided for the good of the state’s economic situation they would not extend the tax. However, Perdue presented a budget that kept much of the tax increase.

When liberal groups slammed the proposed budget bill, the governor’s office hinted at her disapproval of the legislation, so it came as little surprise when for the first time in North Carolina history, Perdue vetoed the state’s budget.

But the lawmakers weren’t rolling over for Perdue this time. Moderate Democrats joined with House and Senate Republicans to counter Perdue’s historic veto with their own history-making event: the first budget veto override.

Unfortunately, Governor Bev Perdue remains in a position to veto Republican attempts at reconstituting the state’s economic and fiscal situations. And like Einstein’s definition of insanity, she will — and her liberal ilk will — continue doing the same things over and over and over…

Conservatively yours,

Nathan Tabor

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