The latest Republican backroom budget deals have attracted the expected opposition from Democrats, but even a group of business leaders that includes major Republican donors have come out in opposition to the budget.
“North Carolina Business Leaders” sent a letter Tuesday, Sept. 19 to all the Republicans in the state House asking them to oppose the current Republican budget.
The letter states, “While we applaud the state’s remarkable economic success of the past decade, we believe that the key to sustaining this prosperity lies in a fiscally responsible budget that refrains from allocating funds to NC Innovation, legalizing casinos, or expanding Medicaid.”
The letter is signed by Bob Luddy, CEO of CaptiveAire and Thales Academy & College, Art Pope, CEO Variety Wholesalers, former state budget director and founder of the John Locke Foundation, John Allison, retired CEO of BB&T and retired president and CEO of Cato Institute, Rodney Pitts, chairman of Southern Elevator and E.C. Sykes, general partner of Aslan Ventures.
That is a group of Republican heavyweights that is clearly not happy with the current budget chicanery.
The letter notes that an allocation of $1.4 billion to NCInnovation, a nonprofit organization, “does not align with the principles of free enterprise. Government intervention and support in the technology sector can create market distortions and stifle true innovation.”
The letter urges the Republican representatives “to reconsider including provisions related to legalizing and licensing four casinos in North Carolina. The state budget’s primary purpose is to allocate resources for current operations, and such policy changes only complicate budget negotiations.”
As far as Medicaid expansion is concerned, the letter states, “Government-run or funded healthcare programs can disrupt market dynamics, leading to fewer options for consumers and potentially higher costs for those who choose to remain in the private insurance market. We believe that maintaining minimal government interference in healthcare is essential to preserve the principles of free enterprise and encourage competition and innovation.”
The letter acknowledges that crafting a state budget is a daunting task and adds, “Still, we urge you to prioritize fiscal responsibility and the principles that have contributed to North Carolina’s economic success. We encourage you to expeditiously pass a state budget that excludes funding for NC Innovation, policy changes on casinos, or funding for Medicaid Expansion.”
In the budget document that was circulating on Monday, Sept. 18, both the legislation to expand casino operations in the state and to expand Medicaid had been removed. Reportedly, casinos and Medicaid expansion would both be in one bill. The allocation to NCInnovation had also been reduced to $250 million.