Editorial: Tasks veiled in GOP’s opportunity

Jan. 28, 2013 @ 06:20 PM

Opportunity has arrived for the Republicans of our state. The General Assembly has been to Raleigh, been sworn in, elected leadership positions, and on Wednesday they return and begin more arduous tasks.

The business of our state needs their serious attention. We’re attentive to seeing how, for the first time since 1870, our government operates with the Grand Old Party holding both the legislative and executive branches. Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue wore out her veto stamp, and there is a good deal of “rerun” legislation coming between now and June. It might stick this time.

But those experiencing good fortune often confirm it is the result of opportunity meeting preparation. We’d agree with that, and hope this year’s General Assembly, with 50 new or returning members among the 170, has done its homework.

If they have, fresh and creative ideas will enable the state to climb from under the mountain of debt to the federal government for unemployment benefits, present a new balanced budget by July 1 that goes through mid-2015 and institute some kind of phase-in program to fix aging government infrastructure.

There’s no shortage of issues. Creating an identification requirement for voting, overhauling the tax system and taking on another 500,000 Medicaid recipients linked to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act are the big ones.

Regulatory reform, loosening teacher tenure, linking curriculum to jobs, school choice, gun control, a constitutional right-to-work amendment, eugenics compensation and abortion restrictions are no less important.

The legislature has an uneasy task. North Carolina isn’t creating jobs as quickly as needed, and the state’s debt to the federal government is $2.5 billion. Those already weakened by our economy could face increased struggles through reductions in unemployed worker benefits and tax reform.

Whereas Perdue was sure to anger a good number in trying to balance a budget four years ago, instantly making her unpopular, newly elected Gov. Pat McCrory and the GOP will have little fiscal room to institute new programs. Essentially, they’re trying to improve and keep our collective head above water.

We hope they are prepared. The opportunity is there, and we all need some good fortune.