Wednesday, December 17, 2008

NCGOP E-Letter - December 17, 2008

Problems of the Future Won't Be Solved With Failed Proposals of the Past

By Linda Daves
Chairman, North Carolina Republican Party

A special committee given the task to generate solutions to the many problems encountered by the state's transportation system was given a year to discuss the options and make recommendations. After a year's work, what is their plan to turn the state DOT around? Raise taxes. I can't say I didn't see this coming. Not only is raising taxes in this economy a terrible idea. It's uninspiring. It's unbelievable the people were promised solutions from this committee who took a year to come up with a plan that could be developed in five minutes. Additional revenue is always the preferred path of failed government bureaucracy.

The very existence of this committee and their proposed "solutions" demonstrates the problem. When the state faces serious problems, the Democrat leadership in state government commissions a study so they can tell their constituents they are "looking into this issue." The newly formed committee then takes a year to generate a plan that was likely already the preference of the few folks in control of state government. When new problems ensue, repeat cycle. There are no new ideas, no innovations, and no thinking outside the box to solve the problems of tomorrow before they can arise. We have a reactive state government and not a proactive one.

The state DOT provides the perfect example. Government bureaucrats want more of our money. This is not exactly breaking news. However, the state DOT and its top officials have already proven there is no amount of money they can't waste through poorly managed budgets, lack of professionalism and competence. Think about this for a moment. The state DOT is wasting so much money even the federal government won't invest more in them. Why should North Carolina taxpayers be expected to do so? Giving the state DOT more of our money without overhauling the way business is done in that department is just throwing good money after bad. In the private sector, when these kinds of shortfalls happen, people lose their jobs. In government, they receive additional funding. Overhauling DOT should be top priority. We need new management to develop new ideas because the stale plans of the past are only digging the people a deeper hole. We must create the opportunity for excellence in state government. Then we must demand excellence from our leaders. …

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They Said It! Rand Admits Wasting Taxpayer Dollars
“We’ve thrown money away in the past. Now, we’re going to make sure we can justify every penny we spend.” N.C. Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand (D-Cumberland)

(Johnson, Corey G., "Rand says financial efficiency vital for government," Fayetteville Observer, 12/16/08)

Click here to visit the Seeing Red Again blog…

Easley Asks Agencies to Find Budget Cuts: What Took You So Long?

By Brian Balfour
Red Clay Citizen
December 11, 2008

Governor Easley's office issued this press release yesterday, summarizing Easley's latest memo directing state agencies to "develop 3 percent, 5 percent and 7 percent reduction options" in preparation for next year's budget.

Kudos to Easley for being proactive on the issue, but the nature of the directive raises some questions. The memo includes guidelines to agencies regarding where they should search for spending reductions. Among the guidelines are:

-- Funding priority should be given to statutorily mandated or ''core mission'' government services.
-- Elimination of duplicative and underperforming programs.
-- Streamlining and consolidation of programs, offices and services.
-- Reduction in operating funds due to service efficiencies.
-- Reduction in layers of management and administration.
-- Budgeting receipts where appropriate to offset appropriation requirements.

Why does it take a "budget crisis" and a directive from the Governor to force state bureaucrats into such obvious scrutiny of the expenditure of tax dollars? Shouldn't they already be giving priority to "core mission" government services? Further, why are taxpayer dollars even being spent on programs and services if they don't fall under government"s "core mission"? Does government have a "core mission" and a "non-core mission"? If lawmakers and agency heads were responsible stewards of our tax revenue, they wouldn't be waiting for such a situation to take these measures - it would be a constant, ongoing process. …

Remember this when left-wing groups and politicians cry out for more tax dollars.

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The Taint of Scandal Envelops Democrats

By Donald Lambro
December 17, 2008

WASHINGTON -- Over the past four years, the Democrats blamed the Republicans for ushering in "a culture of corruption" that they charged had infected every nook and cranny of the government.

The lobbying payoffs and influence-peddling scandals did indeed bring down a number of Republicans, though it turned out that many Democratic lawmakers also had received tainted contributions from the same lobbyists or their clients. But that got less attention from the national news media.

Now the tide has turned against the Democrats on two fronts, and it is they who are being investigated on corruption charges just as they were poised to take over the White House and strengthen their legislative grip on Congress.

Rod Blagojevich's pay-to-play scandal, in which he has plotted to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat to the highest bidder, has pushed the Illinois governor to the brink of impeachment. But it has also embarrassed and distracted the president-elect and his transition advisers, and a top election analyst says the GOP could end up winning the vacated seat.

Obama is not implicated in the scandal, but many questions were raised about whether his designated chief of staff, Rep. Rahm Emanuel -- a hard-hitting practitioner of Chicago-style politics -- is the "president-elect adviser" mentioned in the U.S. Attorney's complaint that details Blagojevich's plans to put Obama's seat up for sale. …

The smell of a scandal "might be building, though it's not there yet," said Jennifer Duffy, senior political analyst at the Cook Political Report. "But Democrats who have won on this message of culture of corruption now find the tables have turned on them, and they do have to be very careful that it doesn't get bigger," Duffy told me.

For Barack Obama, "it's a distraction he doesn't need right now," she said.

Scandal-wise, this has been a bumper year for the Democrats, who have seen some of their biggest names brought down by one investigation after another. …

Republican Party officials, however, were stepping up their attacks on the scandal -- perhaps a sign of things to come when the Obama regime takes over next month.

"The serious nature of the crimes listed by federal prosecutors raises questions about the interaction with Gov. Blagojevich, President-elect Obama and other high-ranking officials who will be working for the future president," said House Republican whip Eric Cantor of Virginia.

Still, while political analyst Duffy thinks the Blagojevich scandal "is pretty darn serious" for the Democrats, "I'm not sure this is serious for Obama; in fact, it's probably not serious at all."

More shoes will surely drop before this investigation is over. But the Republicans are going to keep pounding the Democrats on this one to make sure that they -- and the Senate nominee they pick -- will have little chance of retaining Obama's seat.

"The Republicans could have a chance to take this seat," Duffy said. "I think a special election would give them the chance to do that with a credible candidate."

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Autoworkers and Taxpayers Deserve Better than Washington's Flawed Bailout

By John Boehner
December 16, 2008

Washington has been abuzz lately with debate over possible federal action to save the American auto industry from financial collapse. American autoworkers and taxpayers deserve better than a taxpayer-funded bailout of the auto industry that simply guarantees failure. They deserve a plan that removes barriers and gives the industry a chance to be competitive again. I and some of my colleagues recently put forth a plan that would do this.

I opposed the recent bailout plan put forth by the Democrats who control Congress because I believe it is unworthy of American auto workers and unworthy of American taxpayers. It guarantees failure at taxpayer expense. If enacted, it would keep the American auto industry dependent on taxpayer money instead of giving auto workers the security of a viable industry that is back on its feet and ready to compete. It offers no guarantee that taxpayers will get their money back; instead it simply sets the industry up for further taxpayer-funded bailouts down the road. It would also put Washington politicians and bureaucrats in charge of the American auto industry – the same politicians and bureaucrats who racked up a $455 billion budget deficit last year.

American autoworkers and their families deserve better. A responsible plan should protect taxpayers and help auto workers and their families by allowing the Big Three to become competitive again. The plan I offered with my Republican colleagues would do this.

Our proposal, the American Automotive Reorganization & Recovery Plan, establishes firm benchmarks and a tight timeline for the companies’ restructuring. The Big Three automakers presented their plans for restructuring to Congress on December 2. Their plans included some worthy objectives, but no real details were provided with respect to how the companies would actually be restructured, or what the companies would do to ensure taxpayers get their money back. Our plan addresses this problem through benchmarks designed to ensure real changes are made that will allow the companies to get back on the path to prosperity. …

Most importantly, our plan emphasizes the use of government-backed insurance, rather than relying on a taxpayer-funded government bailout that replaces private investment. We propose that the government provide insurance, funded by the participants with a modest FDIC-like fee, that would expire on March 31, 2009. This would help to unlock immediate private investment in the auto companies while protecting taxpayers and providing a strong incentive for the Big Three to move quickly with their restructuring. …

Spending billions of additional federal tax dollars with no promises to reform the root causes crippling the industry’s competitiveness is neither fair to taxpayers nor fair to the millions of American families who depend on the industry for their economic well-being. Taxpayers and autoworkers deserve better than Washington’s flawed bailout. They deserve reforms that will let the industry compete again, without the heavy hand of government standing in the way.

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Poll: Americans opposed to auto bailout
Americans Resistant to Bailing Out Big Three

December 15, 2008

Americans remain resistant to the federal government passing legislation to bail out the big three U.S. automotive companies, and about two-thirds of Americans place a great deal of blame on the executives who run the automotive companies for the problems they face.

Click here to view the video…