Shameful. That’s how I’d describe what Phil Berger did with the NC budget. | Opinion

On Tuesday Sept. 19, 2023, Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore announced that a deal had been reached on the state budget, almost three months late. The budget included several policy provisions that give the legislature more power. (Robert Willett/

GOP hypocrisy

The hypocrisy of Republican lawmakers in North Carolina has no bounds. First, they delay passing a budget for months that includes new benefits for thousands of people in the form of pay raises and Medicaid expansion. Why? Because Sen. Phil Berger wants to strong-arm other Republicans to sanction four new gambling casinos by including the provision in the budget instead of creating a separate bill for the casinos. That’s just shameful.

Mark Kinlaw, Holly Springs

Appalling conduct

The writer is an NC House member.

The Republicans’ conduct surrounding the budget is appalling. With a veto-proof supermajority, passing the budget should have been straightforward. Instead of doing their job, they spent months engaged in political manipulation of the budget in an effort to benefit a casino company paying them handsomely for access to our state.

Whether you support casinos or not, this is unacceptable. Teachers and state employees continued working without the raises they deserved — all while trying to provide North Carolinians with the services their taxes pay for. This, despite excessive vacancies due to years of underfunding.

Now that the budget has been voted on, it is clear Republicans have failed to invest in our state and its future. Educator and state employee pay raises are wholly inadequate, state retirees are essentially ignored, and the effort to undermine the integrity and trust in our elections is on full display. North Carolinians are tired of the backroom, sweetheart deals that benefit political donors and lobbyists instead of working people. Enough is enough.

Laura Budd, Matthews

Public records

I read with disgust and great disappointment that our lawmakers tucked a new law inside the state budget that basically gives them the legal permission to hide public records from public view. (Sept. 22) We have a long history of lawmakers doing as much of their business as possible in private, behind closed doors and in ways that keep it hidden from the public. This makes it easier for them to thumb their noses at voters and taxpayers. It also raises an age-old question that every voter should ask every elected official they meet: Why do you have trouble with the idea of doing the public’s business in public?

Joe Dew, Morrisville

Sneak attack

Tucked in the state budget was language preempting N.C. counties from taking action to restrict use of single-use plastic bags, which are a major source of pollution on our streets and in our parks and waterways.

This sneak attack on sensible environmental protection has nothing to do with democracy and protecting our communities and everything to do with serving as the plastic industry’s puppets. Shame on our legislature.

George Stubbs, Durham

GOP family values?

Way to go Republican-led N.C. legislature. The move for more casinos and toward possibly opening liquor stores on Sunday — I thought the Republican Party was the party of “family values.” I guess not. Shame on you.

Robert Ipock Jr. , La Grange

Teacher shortage

Regarding “The math just doesn’t add up,” (Sept. 17):

As a retired math teacher with 25 years in New York and 20 years in Maryland I have seen firsthand what is necessary to get and to keep top teachers — very competitive salaries. Individuals in the N.C. House and Senate should hang their heads in shame. North Carolina has billions of surplus dollars to spend on teacher salaries. Start teachers at $50,000 (not $37,000) and see how fast the teacher shortage disappears. You get what you pay for.

Richard Haas, Garner

Tim Moore

On Sept. 12, students packed the N.C. House gallery to protest gun violence after two lockdowns at UNC-Chapel Hill in 16 days. House Speaker Tim Moore’s comment: “This isn’t a pep rally. This is the House of Representatives.“ His remark shows utter contempt for the students who have every cause to bring attention to the senseless gun violence in this country. The students present in the Legislative Building were angry and hungry for change. To trivialize their protest with belittling comments blights Moore’s character.

Lynne Raha, Raleigh