Thursday, August 1, 2013

Don't just move the money around

With the GOP in control of the Governor's mansion, and the legislative chambers you would have thought that the budget would have, oh I don't know, shrunk. It was a good budget in that it reduces taxes, and reduces regulation, and all the other talking points, but it still was more than the budget last year. In a time when families and individuals are tightening their belts it is hard to rejoice when the Republicans pass a budget that spends more when we should be spending less. 
I was looking over 2012-2013 appropriations projections for NC DOT. I was just thinking how much money we could potentially save if we privatized the state DOT. The total funding for the state DOT was tabbed at $5.2 billion. The actual expenditure for the previous year was $4.7 billion. The majority of those expenditures were external payments to the tune of $3,389,560,193.00. So basically we at the state level are already sending the majority of our tax dollars to state so they can outsource to private companies who do the majority of the work. The house and the Senate should seriously hold hearings and studies to show how much could we save the taxpayer if we privatized the state DOT. We could save, again based off of older figures, $739,457,867.00 in internal DOT labor and employee costs. We could also save on the need for more bureaucrats and administrative costs. In the appropriation projection for 2012-2013, $314,000,000.00 was spent on administration. If we privatized the DOT, I am sure we could cut a significant chunk of spending from that appropriation. My point is that the state needs to take a serious look at what we are spending and see if we can cut areas of waste and inefficiency. The recent scandal with the NC Rural Board is a prime example of how public money is being wasted.
North Carolina has the highest gas tax in the southeast, let alone the nation. I appreciate the state's effort to cap it again, but quite frankly the cap keeps going up it seems. We need to be looking into ways to reduce the state's gas tax to give NC families some relief and also make us more competitive with our neighbors in South Carolina and Virginia. I am not saying that the privatization process will work but it is worth some hearings and some research. 
The republicans control the purse strings and we must take advantage of this rare opportunity to actually reduce expenditures and reduce the burden of government on the taxpayers of NC. It is not enough to cut taxes, do some ribbon cuttings, and talk tough. We still need to reduce state spending in areas where we can. I hope that next year the House, Senate, and the Governor will make it a priority to reduce the size and the spending of government. Looking into privatizing services, reductions in personnel, and cutting waste should be made a top priority. Cutting taxes was a great start, but now it is time to start cutting spending. 

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