Do not expand Medicaid. Roll back renewable energy requirements. Thwart the EPA's regulation of coal-fired power plants. Let charter schools run amok. Reform the tax code.
This is the 2015 legislative agenda released this morning by Americans for Prosperity, North Carolina a far-right advocacy group, one that would "improve economic freedom and personal wellbeing."
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Whose economic freedom and personal wellbeing? Probably not yours.
AFP, whose backers include Art Pope and his various foundations, also supports Taxpayer Bill of Rights, otherwise known as TABOR. By appropriating the name "Bill of Rights," from the U.S. Constitution, AFP wants to fool you into thinking TABOR will somehow stand between you and tyranny. Not so.
This is how it works: Under TABOR, state and local governments cannot raise tax rates without voter approval—a referendum. Nor can these entities spend money collected under existing tax rates without voter approval if revenues grow faster than the rate of inflation and population growth. In other words, governments cannot use good economic times to collect more money to use for lean times.
Other states passed TABOR, including Colorado, which, according to the state treasury website,
resulted in the deterioration of funding for K-12 public schools. Colorado's governor, a Democrat, wants to repeal TABOR
. Local governments have spent less on public health, law enforcement and street maintenance, according to analysis by the Center for Colorado Policy Studies. Instead, cities and towns are relying more on user and permitting fees and yes, the federal government. Under this scenario, wow TABOR decreases the role of the federal government, a clarion call for conservatives, is a mystery.
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Tax "reform" already has resulted in budget shortfalls in North Carolina, forcing further cuts to a budget that is not to the bone, but to the marrow.
Overall, AFP says its agenda would "reduce the regulatory burden on businesses and citizens." Does this include the regulatory burden on abortion providers, whose facilities now must meet the same requirements as surgical centers? Does this include state government's regulation of local governments who, in turn want to regulate fracking.