State budget headed for trouble
With the General Assembly closing in on the 2013-2014 state budget and “tax reform” bills, get ready for the coming tax hikes. That’s right, I said hikes. They won’t get much publicity, but they’ll be there. Here’s why.
The General Assembly’s Fiscal Research Division estimated the fiscal impact of the Senate’s bill at $3.245 billion over five years, beginning with a $79.4 million deficit in 2013-2014 and finishing with a $952.6 million deficit in 2017-18. That’s a total of $3,254 million, or over $3 billion in the hole from personal and corporate income taxes.
How do Tea Party Republicans propose to cover this deficit? I’ve heard two different approaches — eliminate fraud and waste and attract new high income people to make up the difference.
Tea Party Republicans have long claimed there’s lots of waste in Raleigh. In 2½ years, the only waste I’ve heard of is Rep. Harry Warren’s town hall meeting reports of $120,000 saved from an unused telephone. Apparently, either there isn’t much waste or the Tea Party Republicans aren’t smart enough to find it! You decide!
“We’ll grow out of it” is a favorite solution. This assumes 1.5-2 percent growth in population, with higher income newcomers beefing up personal income collections. Population growth may come, but what kind of population? Rich or poor? I don’t see evidence of high income industries moving here in any numbers, especially after the Times editorial. More likely, incomes will grow at the same rate as spending, slowly.
The unmentioned solution is to raise fees, fines, taxes on the one hand and cut expenses or dump them on the counties. Increased taxes? Think of the fifth straight gas tax increase under Republicans. Fees? Jack up college tuition and fees. And the most obvious, cut education and health care budgets, leaving counties on the hook. Even Jim Sides recognizes this is coming.
Check Scott Mooneyham’s June 25 column for his view. As I said, get ready for those tax hikes, they’re coming.
— Jack Burke
The writer of the recent letter “Regarding abortion ‘fireworks’ ” is so misinforming your readers about the nature, risks and practice of first-trimester abortion that it is hard to know what to correct first. Such abortion is often NOT an invasive procedure, but can be accomplished almost naturally by administering two drugs: mifepristone and misoprostol. “Naturally?” You might exclaim. Yes, considering that 20 percent (one in five) of normal conceptions abort spontaneously for reasons only God knows.
As for safety, first-trimester suction abortion is one of the safest surgical procedures known, and is far safer than delivering a full-term pregnancy. As long as proper protocols are followed, any physician or mid-level provider trained in the procedure can safely perform first trimester abortions in an office setting. Having an in-office ultrasound unit and Rh blood-typing equipment make it even more safe. Of course, any good practitioner will insist on close follow-up of the patient after any procedure, especially medical or surgical abortion. Virtually all abortion clinics in North Carolina provide this follow-up.
Finally, to insinuate that abortion providers falsify death certificates to cover up death due to abortions is ludicrous. It is rare, if ever, that the abortion provider would have anything to do with the death certificate of a young woman who died of questionable causes. That would be handled by the county medical examiner, who almost certainly would ask for an autopsy to determine the correct cause of death.
Thank you for letting me clarify some facts in this debate.
— Dr. James S. Campbell