Editorial: The price N.C. pays for tax cuts
The Charlotte Observer takes lawmakers to task for making the roads less safe by cutting driver's ed requirements in a misguided attempt to cut spending. When the Senate budget called for forcing parents to pay out-of-pocket for their kids' driver's ed, which could cost as much as $400 per family. Ultimately Senator Hise proposed eliminating the driver's ed requirement all together - replacing it with an at home program monitored by the honor system.
While lawmakers sort this week through the newly passed House and Senate budget bills, one thing remains consistent: Republicans want even lower taxes for corporations. In turn, the rest of us could be hit with an array of new taxes, fees and cuts.
The cuts include 8,500 teacher assistant positions, leaving elementary classrooms across the state without a valuable help for students and teachers. Republicans will point to an increase in teacher positions, but why does one have to come at the expense of the other?
The taxes include hikes for veterinary services and advertising, which will affect small businesses across the state. Republicans call it expanding the tax base, which in itself is a good idea. But when it’s done as an emergency way to raise revenue, not as part of comprehensive tax reform, it’s haphazard and inconsistently applied.
There’s also one proposal that shows how far Republicans will go to pay for their brand of tax cuts.
Tucked in the Senate budget is a provision that saves the state $26 million by eliminating free driver’s education at public high schools. Gov. Pat McCrory’s proposed budget also eliminates money for driver’s ed.
Doing so, however, could cost families $200-$400 per driver-to-be, unless that driver wants to wait until he or she is 18, at which point state law allows people to get a license without driver’s ed.
Sen. Ralph Hise, a Republican from Spruce Pine, recognizes that the new expense could be a burden on N.C. families. His solution? Eliminate the requirement for driver’s ed altogether.
Instead of valuable classroom and road time with instructors, the Senate proposal would require students to get an 85 on a written test at 15, then gain experience by driving with a parent or other adult for 85 hours, up from 60.