04/14/11 — Veto blunder: Gov. Bev Perdue is thinking about potential voters, not North Carolina

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Veto blunder: Gov. Bev Perdue is thinking about potential voters, not North Carolina

Is she kidding?

It seems absolutely unfathomable that the governor of North Carolina, faced with a ridiculous debt that tallies in the billions of dollars, would veto a measure that asks state employees and retirees to pay a minuscule amount toward their health insurance.

It is especially unbelievable in light of the fact that so many people across her state are dealing with salary cuts, high costs for their own health insurance and many other really tough economic realities.

Nobody asked state employees and retirees to spend $250 a month for their health care. No one even asked them to give up some of the cadillac benefits they have compared to some of the rest of the workers in the state.

And then there is that little benefit called a state pension ... which is an endangered species out in the real world these days, but alive and well in Raleigh.

This was a small amount of money -- barely more than a couple of cups of gourmet coffee -- that would have been used to shore up the health insurance program, which has been plagued by money issues.

So why would a governor make such a bad decision -- especially when she was the one who said that taking care of the state's fiscal situation was one of her top priorities?

Unfortunately it looks like politics -- pure and simple.

When your ratings are low already and you have just announced your re-election bid, the last thing you want to do is alienate one of the groups most likely to be behind you in that bid to stay in office.

And in this case, that is the state employee unions.

So, here we go again -- another decision that defies logic and is motivated by some sort of other agenda that will end up costing this state's taxpayers money that they simply cannot afford.

It is well-known that government service in itself is not a lucrative business. Most people can make more in the private sector.

But there are many other added benefits -- the connections you make, the insurance, the pension -- that make it pretty good to be a state employee.

Asking some of those people, especially those who are retired but otherwise employed, to contribute to maintaining a state health plan is not an egregious violation of their rights.

It is simply asking them to share the responsibility of keeping North Carolina in the black.

Published in Editorials on April 14, 2011 11:21 AM