Building on a post yesterday that pointed to NC Policy Watch’s mention of a mailer sent out by Real Jobs NC attacking state Rep. Hugh Holliman, The North Carolina Independent News has obtained the complete mail piece that claims “Holliman and the politicians in Raleigh voted to raise taxes over a billion dollars to pay for their pork spending projects.” [View the mailer here (PDF).]
Real Jobs NC — a 527 run by major conservative players in the state, such as businessman Art Pope and PPD chair Fred Eshelman — points to Holliman’s support of the state’s plan to close the budget gap in FY 2009-2010 by raising just over $1 billion in new, temporary taxes, over $800 million of which would come from a one-cent statewide sales tax increase.
Real Jobs NC lists the following as proof of Holliman’s fiscally-reckless votes:
- Voted to give Hollywood fatcats up to $20 million of our tax dollars for each movie they produce in NC.
- Voted to spend $218,000 on a Shakespeare festival in High Point.
- Voted to use over $1 million of our tax dollars on a botanical garden in Chapel Hill.
- Voted to build a $25 million luxury fishing pier in Nags Head.
Now Real Jobs NC claims to be a non-partisan organization, but they have targeted Holliman and Rep. Alice Underhill, both Democrats, using $15,000 of their $500,000 ad buy. But in criticizing Holliman in voting for both the tax credits for movie production and the Nags Head pier, Real Jobs NC omits that Republicans too voted for the measures: 19 House Republicans voted with Democrats on the movie credits, and 48 Republicans voted for the pier.
The money going to the festival — $218,000 — was a miniscule part of SB 897, the $19-billion budget bill finally approved in June. And the botanical garden funding must refer to the North Carolina Botanical Garden, an award-winning centerpiece of the UNC-Chapel Hill campus and state historical landmark that has contributed significantly to state and national scientific discovery.
Whether or not one considers these things pork or worthwhile, these items had either bipartisan support or were part of a much larger spending plan that included earmarks outside of Holliman’s district. For Real Jobs NC to posture as bipartisan while ignoring the larger context and focusing solely on Holliman’s votes on these items is disingenuous.
(Image by Matt Mahurin)Tags: Alice Underhill, Art Pope, Fred Eshelman, Hugh Holliman, NC Policy Watch, North Carolina Top Stories, Real Jobs NC, UNC-Chapel Hill