Thom Tillis released a new TV ad today telling you a few things about his background and his record. The only problem? He forgot the facts. Nearly everything Tillis says in the ad is completely undermined by the truth about his record as Speaker of the North Carolina State House. From massive education cuts and budget shortfalls to tax cuts for the wealthiest North Carolinians in a perfectly Koch-aligned agenda, one thing is clear: Tillis does not want to talk to you about his record in the legislature. It’s a record he’s obviously so proud of that in this new ad he conveniently fails to mention that he has anything to do with the very legislative body he presides over.
So we decided to help Speaker Tillis out and fill in some of the crucial context he was unable to fit into his new ad.
FY 2014 State Budget Cut Education Spending By Nearly $500 Million Over The Next Two Years. According to the Black Mountain News, “The $11.5 billion portion of the state budget set aside for public schools, community colleges and the University of North Carolina system cuts education spending by nearly $260 million this year and another $222 million next year.” [Black Mountain News, 7/23/13]
Raleigh News & Observer Editorial: Tillis Passed State Budget That “Shorts Public Education.” In an editorial, the Raleigh News & Observer wrote: “The tax law set the stage for a state budget approved Wednesday that shorts public education, especially teachers.” [Raleigh News & Observer, 7/24/13]Charlotte Observer Editorial: Tillis Passed State Budget That Failed To Help Public School Teachers, And Was “Not Good For Our State, Our Workforce, Our Children, Or Our Future.” In an editorial, the Charlotte Observer wrote: “Republican Senate leader Phil Berger insisted this week that Republicans aren’t gutting public education, and lawmakers pointed to spending on technology and safety programs. But our schools are only as strong as the people who stand in front of the class, and N.C.’s budget is not only cutting education spending overall, it’s giving the best and brightest teachers every reason to try something else – or try the same thing somewhere else. That’s not good for our state, our workforce, our children, or our future.” [Charlotte Observer, 7/23/13]Ethics:
Daily Courier Editorial: Members Of Tillis’ Staff Resigned Because They Had “Inappropriate Relationships With Lobbyists.” According to an editorial in the Daily Courier, “On the heels of resignations inside the office of House Speaker Thom Tillis, the Legislative Ethics Committee started issuing new guidelines against ‘inappropriate and unethical behavior’ with regards to Legislative employees and lobbyists. In April, Tillis chief of staff Charles Thomas and policy adviser Amy Hobbs resigned after Tillis said the pair had inappropriate relationships with lobbyists. Unfortunately, it took an instance like those two to bring about a rule regarding ethics, conduct and behavior in the General Assembly. The policy that was initially reported on Monday, said that a ‘legislative employee who serves at the will of a lawmakers should not have a dating relationship or sexual relations with a registered lobbyist.’ The policy also extends to having those same relations with a state agency liaison, unless the relationship is disclosed to the legislator.” [Editorial: Daily Courier, 9/25/12]
Thomas Was Paid $12,500 With The Listed Purpose “Pay In Lieu Of Notice.” According to the News & Observer, “Records show that Tillis’ former chief of staff, Charles Thomas, was paid $12,500 with a listed purpose of ‘pay in lieu of notice.’ His annual salary was $150,000.” [News & Observer, 5/17/12]
Hobbs Received $6,833.33 For The Same Reason As Thomas, “Pay In Lieu Of Notice.” According to the News & Observer, “Tillis’ former policy adviser, Amy Hobbs, received $6,833.33 for the same purpose, according to records. Her annual salary was $82,000.” [News & Observer, 5/17/12]
The state budget and recent legislative session:
Tillis’ 2014 Legislative Session “Will Be Labeled By Intense Infighting Among GOP Legislators.” According to the Associated Press, “But the work performed in the 2014 session alone will be labeled by intense infighting among GOP legislators and Gov. Pat McCrory, lengthy budget negotiations and a disjointed adjournment. Here are more elements that permeated the annual session, which lawmakers hope to wrap up this coming week.” [Associated Press, 8/17/14]
Legislature’s “Inability To Finalize A Plan To Clean Up And Close Duke Energy’s 33 Coal Ash Pits Was A Setback For Republicans.” According to the Associated Press, “COAL ASH FOR NOVEMBER?: The legislature’s inability to finalize a plan to clean up and close Duke Energy’s 33 coal ash pits was a setback for Republicans, who called passage a top priority after the February spill along the Dan River. The House and Senate passed competing versions of a bill to shut down all of the ponds by 2029, but they couldn’t agree on the final details. Now they’ll try again in 2015.” [Associated Press, 8/17/14]