WAKE DEMS WEEKLY UPDATE, Vol. 1, No. 14
July 16, 2017
Summer used to be a quieter time in the political calendar. You could relax on the beach and read a novel filled with intrigue and nefarious characters. These days, you only have to look to the Republican-led General Assembly for real-life versions of these stories.
Despite the NCGA being out of session, Republicans are still meeting behind closed doors to plot their schemes for this fall’s sessions.
If at first you don’t succeed…
Remember that voter ID bill that was struck down by the courts? We haven’t seen the end of it. Republicans have been working for months to revive some form of voter ID, and they’re now floating the idea of putting it on the ballotas a state constitutional amendment in 2018. They’re hoping to motivate their supporters to turn out in a midterm election that is otherwise trending against them, by tapping into Trumpian fears of “illegals” voting. They also hope a popular referendum will make the law harder to challenge in the courts. We will likely see a bill during the September session.
Looking into a bleak future
We knew Republicans have been taking us down a dangerous fiscal path. Gov. Cooper warned that this year’s budget “may be the most fiscally irresponsible budget I've ever seen.” But this week we learned the extent of that irresponsibility. At the request of our Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue, nonpartisan legislative staff produced a report on the budget outlook for the next five years. What came back was shocking: projected annual budget deficits of at least $1 billion starting in 2019, thanks to the massive tax giveaways for the wealthy and corporations Republicans have been passing for the last four years. That means that in order to balance the budget, as required by law, legislators will have to find $1 billion each year in either cuts or middle-class tax hikes. This is the end game of the Republican playbook.
The report’s assumptions are based purely on inflation and continuing the spending levels of this year’s budget, which are meager enough. Staff did not project any further investments in education or our people’s other core needs.So the deficits will in reality be even larger. It looks like NC is quickly headed over the same cliff as Louisiana and Kansas, where schools and the middle class have for years paid the price for Republicans’ ill-conceived trickle-down failure.
Legislative redistricting back in federal court
Mark your calendars for July 27th. The U.S. District Court in Greensboro has ordered all parties to be in court to present their arguments and witnesses in relation to legislative redistricting. After the hearing, the court will determine the timing for redrawing, including a possible special election. We will be watching, and will provide more information in a future update.
Municipal Elections Update
Filing for this fall’s municipal elections opened last Friday, July 7th, and runs until next Friday, July 21st, at noon. We will have further updates after filing closes, but if you or someone you know is interested in running, particularly in the non-Raleigh municipalities, just reply to this email.