Former President Bill Clinton used his 1996 State of the Union to hail that “the era of big government is over.” But he also used many of those addresses to offer up a vast wish list of government programs. Not surprisingly, Gov. Roy Cooper was determined to mirror the latter over the former during Monday’s State of the State. That’s understandable as his party picked up some gains and Cooper probably feels like he has the momentum. On top of that, there is a common belief by many that the state will inevitably turn more progressive. After all, the Left believes progress and evolution are only defined as leftward political turns. Funny how that works.
But we already know who Cooper is from a political and policy standpoint, as Leah Byers pointed out so well in “Gov. Cooper’s history of supporting tax hikes.”
The big takeaway though is that Cooper is determined to expand government in a way that would definitely raise taxes. The Carolina Journal has the best rundown of the highlights, including many expensive proposals from Cooper:
- He called for Medicaid expansion.
- He predicted climate change will increase the severity of storms, requiring new infrastructure spending in vulnerable areas.
- He said tax cuts had reduced money available for public education.
- He called for higher teacher and principal pay, promising a budget that “will put our schools and our teachers first.”
- He urged more spending on pre-K slots and the NC Teaching Fellows program, which covers college costs for graduates who teach for at least four years in North Carolina.
- He called on lawmakers to place a school construction bond on the ballot for voter approval.
- He defended taxpayer incentives to attract businesses.
- He repeated his call to provide community college, tuition-free, for “high-demand jobs.”
- He urged expansion of rural broadband service using public-private partnerships.
- He reiterated his call to extend the ban on offshore drilling for oil and natural gas.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway is that Gov. Cooper offered up a model that largely echoes the broken federal government model of more and more spending. It too reflects the model of failed leadership that led to a massive shift of power in the General Assembly. North Carolina should continue to chart a different course. To reflect the tax and spend mantra that has led to a $22 trillion debt and the creation of more and more serfs to government growth is unsustainable. It’s simply been tried over and over and continually fails.
The same old tax and spend mantra doesn’t work. FDR’s Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr was saying way back at the height of the New Deal in 1937:
We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work.
And as Jefferson noted so well, “The government that governs least governs best.” Let’s promote freedom and unlike the recent ruling by the superior court judge against amending our constitution, let’s empower the people and not the government.