The political optics of the state budget debate are not going the way Republicans would like when conservative strategist and Jesse Helms acolyte Carter Wrenn is writing blog posts that read like they could have been written by, well, a Democrat.
On his Talking About Politics blog earlier this week, Wrenn took Speaker Thom Tillis to task for trying to claim that a fee increase does not equal a tax increase.
Today’s new breed of politicians are a lot more versatile than the old-timers most of us grew up with.
In the old days when Democratic politicians raised ‘fees’ – like the fee you pay for your car registration – they’d argue stubbornly it was not a tax increase and Republican politicians would argue back, 'The money comes out of the taxpayers’ pockets and goes to government and lands in the same bank account as taxes – so how’s that not a tax.'
Last week that old-fashioned clarity vanished in a heartbeat.
Suddenly, in Raleigh Democratic Leader Joe Hackney was arguing for all he’s worth that ‘fee increases’ are tax increases and standing eye to eye with him Republican Speaker Thom Tillis was arguing back, 'No way – saying his plan to raise fees $100 million was absolutely not a tax increase.'
So, in Raleigh, we have Joe Hackney sounding like Jesse Helms and Thom Tillis sounding like Jim Hunt – who’d have thought such versatility was possible?
Today, Wrenn wrote that Gov. Bev Perdue is winning the argument over the GOP's plan to cut thousands of teachers' jobs in order to shave a penny of the sales tax.
Speaker Tillis may be rolling his budget through the State House, flattening Democratic Leader Joe Hackney like Sherman marching through Georgia but Tillis’ real problem isn’t out-voting Hackney it’s out-politikin’ Perdue.