And the slashing of unemployment benefits tops the list:
When McCrory came on board, the state still owed money to the feds. But he and the Republicans acted like this was money out of their own pockets. Keep in mind that unemployment funds come from a tax on employers. Businesses pay a tax for each employee, which was going to pay back the owed money to the feds. According to an estimate given to WRAL.com, at the rate of pay, the loan would have been paid off by 2019 to 2020 without any interference from the state politicians.
Yet, the GOP pushed through measures that harmed many people so that there would be less money paid out and the loan could be paid back quickly. Instead of going until 2019 or 2020, the owed money ($2.5 billion) was paid off by May 2015. “The debt to the federal government was a tax on jobs,” said Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger. McCrory and Berger said businesses were reluctant to hire new workers because of this additional fee in unemployment expense.
This wasn’t just a regressive “austerity” measure, which sounds more like something you’d read in an economist’s masters thesis than a call for advocacy. This actually took food off the tables of families statewide, exacerbating an already troubling hunger issue, especially among school-age children. And there was no effort to “gradually” reduce the benefits, to soften the blow to these families. No. That $2.5 billion was a nut they wanted to crack, and crack as swiftly as they could, primarily for bragging rights. And they’re “still” bragging about it, including the extra billion they bled out of unemployed workers to set aside for “future” needs. And the current crop of unemployed are still suffering from those draconian cuts, and will be until we can take back the Legislature. You want a good message to push next year? There you go.