05/22/13 — Tax watch: The right answer? We will see. Truth is: Something's got to change.

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Tax watch: The right answer? We will see. Truth is: Something's got to change.

Taxes, budgets and deficits.

Those three words are going to be the topic of much conversation in North Carolina and beyond in the coming year.

There will be differing views on how the concepts should be handled -- where the priorities should be and where there is fat to be cut.

And there will be the same old arguments about cause and effect, as well as a whole bunch of legislators and leaders who claim they have the exact answer that will save the state and nation's future.

We will let you in on a little secret. They don't.

As the discussions continue about who should pay what and how much, and as North Carolina legislators float their new plan for paying the state's bills, there will be questions about the decisions and who is making them.

But there is a bottom line: It is time to do something else.

The policies of the past have not made the state prosperous or answered some of the needs it faces.

What they have done is created a debt that needs to be eliminated and restricted some of the potential for growth not only in economic development, but in personal family incomes as well.

And that needs to change.

But there is a danger.

Cutting taxes only to replace them with a barrage of fees is not the answer. And slashing and burning to prove a point cripples progress.

And cutting taxes just to say you did so -- when there are responsible budget decisions to be made -- is not good leadership. It is pandering to your base to get re-elected.

The state's new budget and the country's next steps should be governed with the future in mind. Clear the debt, while encouraging the growth that keeps states and nations healthy.

And that means no more freebies for anyone -- including politicians -- and honest and open discussions about what the real concerns are.

Let's hope that is a big part of this debate.

Published in Editorials on May 22, 2013 10:56 AM