LUMBERTON — The Americans for Prosperity Foundation and John William Pope Civitas Institute’s Real Solutions Road Tour made its way through Lumberton on Thursday, calling on North Carolinians to get the “real facts” about the state budget.
“We are trying to educate people with what the state budget is actually doing, as opposed to what the most ardent critics are saying about it,” Dallas Woodhouse, Americans for Prosperity’s state director, told a small gathering outside of Lumberton City Hall. “Unfortunately, what is being said about the budget is far divorced from what the document actually provides.”
The N.C. Real Solutions project kicked off in March. It is a multimedia educational campaign that its organizers say explains the successes of the state budget that eliminates a $3 billion deficit, is balanced, adds state-funded teachers, and lowers taxes.
The tour, which has been crossing the state, includes a large mobile billboard that promotes the N.C. Real Solutions website and other facts about the state budget. Traveling with the tour is Donna King, a Raleigh resident and Americans for Prosperity Foundation activist who is featured in a N.C.. Real solutions television spot.
King, the mother of three children in the public schools system, said that she was concerned when Gov. Beverly Perdue proposed nearly a billion dollars in new taxes. She was pleased when the new legislature in Raleigh, controlled by the GOP, passed a budget that she said cut waste, added state funding for 2,000 more teachers, and reduced the amount of taxes that North Carolinians will pay during the current budget cycle.
“I felt that this General Assembly made some good decisions and I hope this continues,” King said during the tour’s brief stop in Lumberton.
Woodhouse said that opponents of the state budget are presenting “wild and exaggerated” accounts of its impact on North Carolinians in an effort to gain support for tax increases.
State Rep. G.L. Pridgen, a Republican, agreed that opponents of the budget are not accurately describing the budget. He said the budget is now balanced, wasteful spending has been cut, taxes are lower, and there is more state money for teachers.
“We inherited a $2.5 billion to $3 billion deficit,” Pridgen said of the Republican-controlled General Assembly. “We believed in fixing it and we stopped the bleeding. Now we can move on.”
Woodhouse said that the tour is being received well as it crisscrosses the state. In addition to Lumberton, the tour on Thursday made stops in Wilmington, Fayetteville, Clinton and Smithfield.
“I think we are getting a good response,” Woodhouse said. “Even people on the other side admit that our facts are accurate.”
For information about the N.C. Real Solutions Project, go to the project’s website at www.ncrealsolutions.com. There is also a 30-second television commercial that is airing across the state.
The Americans for Prosperity Foundation is a national organization with 34 state chapters. The North Carolina chapter includes about 100,000 members,
Reach staff writer Bob Shiles at 910-272-6117 or email@example.com