Who’s getting the benefits?Published 9:00pm Tuesday, January 15, 2013
The rich get richer. The poor get poorer.
That’s how it appears after Gov. Pat McCrory decided to increase the pay of cabinet appointees and support a plan that would reduce unemployment benefits to North Carolina residents without jobs.
Last week, the new governor increased the salaries of his cabinet appointees from $121,807 a year to either $128,000 or $135,000. The governor took advantage of a new law passed by the Legislature to increase the salaries.
On Monday, McCrory told some reporters that his move would lower the previous administration’s salary structure. McCrory’s cabinet makes a combined $1.1 million annually, an 8-percent increase over the cabinet of his immediate predecessor.
“I’m trying to make it at least where they can afford to live,” McCrory said in explain the increases.
The new salaries for cabinet appointees are three times the median income in Beaufort County, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That median income is $40,986.
Meanwhile, McCrory supports a Republican proposal in the N.C. General Assembly that reduces unemployment benefits by 35 percent, from a maximum of $535 a week to $350 a week. As an email from Justin Guillory notes, Beaufort County is struggling with a 10.3 percent unemployment rate. That email also contains an interesting comment from Gerrick Brenner, executive director of Progress North Carolina.
“So what is it Gov. McCrory?” asks Brenner. “How much does it take to ‘afford to live?’ For the political cronies in your cabinet, $121,000 is not enough. But for the unfortunate casualties of our struggling economy $350 a week — the equivalent of $18,200 a year — is plenty?”
An excellent point we agree with.
McCrory needs to focus more on bringing jobs to areas such as Beaufort County suffering with double-digit jobless rates and less on taking care of his political cronies. We would like to see workers who lost jobs through no fault of their own and whose unemployment benefits stand to be cut under the plan McCrory supports have an opportunity to ask the governor to explain his actions.
His response could be rather revealing when it comes to what to expect from his administration.
What say you, governor?