Publisher's note: This post, by Brian Balfour, was originally published in Civitas's online edition.
Gov. Roy Cooper on Friday sent a letter
to North Carolina's Congressional delegates asking the federal government for more financial help.
In the letter
, Cooper writes:
- Combined with COVID-driven losses in the recently concluded FY 2019-20, the total local and state general revenue decline in North Carolina is in excess of $5 billion, with losses in dedicated transportation related revenues driving the combined total above $6 billion.
Cooper added that "Current projections indicate that even assuming the eradication of COVID-19 in the near future, we are unlikely to return to previously expected 2020 revenue levels until at least 2023."
This is the same Cooper who for months refused to order
any spending reductions in spite of shutting down much of the state's economy knowing full well the move would significantly reduce state revenue.
Cooper also managed to recently approve of a corporate welfare package
that would commit up to $400 million in taxpayer handouts to one corporation over the course of 39 years.
The federal CARES Act allocated $3.5 billion to North Carolina, but with strings attached mandating the money be spent on new initiatives related to the pandemic. State legislators held back about $1.4 billion of that in hopes the CARES Act would be amended to allow more flexibility to address budget shortfalls, but so far that hasn't happened.
In his letter, Cooper lays out his priorities for the additional federal funding, which include "'robust and flexible' money for state and local governments, more protections for students and teachers returning to school, continued funding of expanded federal unemployment benefits and more."
Earlier federal relief packages sent to the state mean Cooper already has nearly $400 million
dedicated for K-12 education and another $96 million in a "Governor's Emergency Relief Fund."
The federal government is already more than $26 Trillion in debt, where does Cooper think the money will come from? Asking the broke federal government for money to bail out broke state and local governments demonstrates a lack of leadership.