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by Chris Malone
Earlier this year a leaked document offered a statewide contingent of left-leaning activists, consultants and media types a strategy to “eviscerate” Republicans at the Legislature.
You can find elements of this program throughout the statewide media.
Considering NCBLUE’s misinformation campaign that some of the media are party to, I think it best to try and set the record straight for those of you who aren’t aware.
More voting opportunity, not less
Let’s start with the truth about Voter ID. We had one of the least restrictive laws in the country.
The new law is still less restrictive than any of those famously blue New England states — which, as I’m sure you can guess, never saw a left wing protest.
Point by point throughout the law, North Carolina is joining a super majority of states in creating a national norm. On many points we are joining more than three-fourths of the states in how we handle this issue.
In the case of same-day registration, there is only one other state that still allows this practice, which is ripe with opportunity for fraud.
In regard to early voting, the Democrats included an amendment which mandates that we allow as many hours of voting as the previous two elections. That means there will not be less early voting opportunity but it will be spread out to more polling places for fewer days.
This means that many of us will be able to vote early closer to home.
Not once have I read that anywhere in the news coverage.
Some claim there is no voter fraud? First, how can we know until we measure it? It is impossible to prove a negative.
Let’s go to the video tape: We had a public hearing at our own committee meeting and several people owned up to it. Also, a similar Voter ID law in Georgia led to more minorities voting, not less — so the faux hysteria is unwarranted.
The ABCs of education budget
During the 2011 budget battle, our Democrat colleagues and the media howled that we would “decimate” education and “20,000 teachers” would be fired.
Instead, 3,198 were hired.
Now they are at it again claiming 9,000 teachers will go. I checked with Wake County and we aren’t firing any teachers or assistants.
Wild allegations are easier to make than honest debate.
Republicans have increased spending twice — in this last budget by 5 percent.
It amounts to 362 million more dollars, and as for education as a whole, we are at 56 percent of the budget.
We do have an admittedly poor 45th rating in per-student spending that definitely needs improvement.
However, according to the Department of Public Instruction, if we account for only that which the legislature is responsible for, the ranking jumps to 11th best. We are also second in the Southeast!
Bet you never heard that from the mainstream media.
Now let’s have an honest discussion about teacher pay. I won’t insult your intelligence by making a big deal of the size of the two pay raises in these last two budgets (teachers will get another 1 percent raise next year).
However, in fairness, that is 2 percent more than was appropriated by those that protested us.
Furthermore, let’s be clear: The raises we did appropriate would have been far larger but for a huge 2.5-billion budget deficit we faced when we took over in 2011 and now a Medicaid debacle of over $500 million in past screw-ups that came home to roost during this session.
This negatively affected teachers and students as well.
The fact that those that protest us weren’t protesting at the Governor’s mansion the last four years is illustrative of why some think politics is broken.
In short, in these challenging times, we are doing a far better and fairer job than is being reported by many in the North Carolina media.
Finally, we had been stagnating as an economy since 2000, long before the great recession.
Unemployment at one point in 2012 was 9.7 percent and fourth worst in the country.
That number is slowly dropping, and the budget and many of our reforms are taking effect. Our strategy of tax breaks for competitive reasons and fewer regulations will spur growth and as a result raise revenues that can benefit our education goals.
Wrong priorities spurred elections
Call it what you want, but the way those that protest us were handling the economy was a clear disaster.
Now I do not think destroying the economy was purposeful, but rather another act of incompetence and misplaced priorities. That is why people here in House District 35, and all around the state, chose a different path in two successive elections.
Maybe you didn’t see it on TV or in the paper, but you knew when you weren’t being served well.
—Chris Malone is a member of the N.C. House of Representatives, representing District 35.