The political game being played with some 37,000 unemployed North Carolinians is disgraceful and needs to end now. None of the players in this drama, except the unemployed, has the moral high ground, despite protests to the contrary.
Because of the severity of the recession, North Carolina and about three-dozen states decided to extend benefits to long-term unemployed residents but a faulty design in the formula halted these payments in April. Fourteen other states with similar problems quickly corrected them. Our legislature passed a bill to extend the benefits but the measure contained a provision that would have forced Gov. Beverly Perdue make double-digit cuts in state spending, a calculated political move designed to position Perdue as the heavy in draconian state budget cuts or appear insensitive to the needs of the unemployed. Perdue accurately proclaimed this provision blackmail and vetoed the bill.
House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger are asserting it is Perdue's fault our unemployed are not getting their extended benefits because she has been unwilling to compromise. They say Perdue wants it her way or no way. The governor claims legislators don't really want to extend the benefits and will sign a bill the minute one comes without unrelated budget demands.
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