Government Lobbying Government

by Brian Irving
LPNC Communications Director

Wake County will pay a former county manager and state legislature $100,000 to lobby in the General Assembly. The lobbyist, former state Sen. Richard Stevens, spent 16 years working for the county and ten years in the legislature. They're also going to pay $110,000 for an “intergovernmental relations manager.” 

In other words, our elected commissioners will use taxpayer money to pay a former elected official to convince current elected officials to give more taxpayer money – including money from people in other counties – to Wake. Does that seem right? Isn't that what we elect commissioners to do? 

This redistribution of your tax money within the governing class is a prime example of the revolving door politics pervading all levels of government. 

One commissioner's comments illustrate this illogical thinking. Jessica Holmes said that education was a priority, and wants the county to request a statewide raise in teacher pay. Why didn't any commissioner suggest using the $200,00 for education? Or one of the other programs local official are always complaining don't get sufficient funding from the state. They could even have done something really radical and returned the money to the hard-working people who earned it.

Note: This was published as a letter to the editor in today's News & Observer. The newspaper agrees with me. Read their editorial which ran alongside the letter.

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