Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Art Pope, Disagreeing with Himself?

The first mention we saw of this very curious example of cognitive dissonance was just before noon today on WRAL reporter Mark Binker's Twitter feed:
#ncgov Budget Dir Art Pope talking to journos at UNC. Says he doesn't think eliminating personal/corp income taxes is a good idea #ncga
This is more than just passing strange, since it's been the Pope-funded "think tank" Civitas Institute that has been promoting the idea that North Carolina would be brimming with fiscal health if we could just eliminate the income tax on the wealthy and on corporations and shift the burden to sales taxes, including most notoriously taxes on groceries and services, like lawn-cutting and hair-shearing.

Art Pope
It's also more than just passing strange, because the GOP-dominated General Assembly of North Carolina is in office largely because of the accumulated expenditures of Mr. Pope, who has drawn his money from five & dime stores across the state (often located in the poorest neighborhoods). Mr. Pope's combined contributions to conservative causes and conservative (Republican) candidates is currently estimated in the $40 million range. Leaders of the GOP in the General Assembly, Mr. Pope's obedient brigade, have already opened up a call for eliminating the state's income tax even before the legislature has actually convened.

The brains behind that state income tax elimination meme is the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which is funded by the Koch Boys, who are closely tied to Mr. Pope. If any one of them gets an itch, they all scratch simultaneously.

So ... was Mr. Pope experiencing a fugue state this morning? Did Mark Binker just hear him wrong? Or is he dissembling because (a) Deputy Governor Pat McCrory is getting cold feet or (b) Art Pope Hisownself is getting cold feet? (He has of late complained that he's being personally attacked.)

We'll wait with impatience for Mark Binker's full report on that curious scene at UNC this morning.

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