You reported that you lowered the shortfall from 3.7 Billion to 2.7 Billion dollars. OK. You get a “Well done!” for that.
Before you became Governor, I am sure you had a household to run, a budget to stick to and at times, shortfalls. And I am sure that when you saw government waste and abuse, knowing that it came out of your pocket, you were miffed.
Hearing that there is still nearly three billion dollars short is disturbing. A Billion is a thousand-million. That's a lot of money. It seems to me that we should leave no stone unturned in searching for where that money will be found.
It says in the paper that after two years of a very expensive task force investigating former Governor Mike Easley for his crimes, after he got discounts on homes, investments, land, and an awful lot of money, he gets off with less than the proverbial slap on the wrist. He gets a $1000 fine and will pay $153 in court costs.
What? Are you kidding? If I or any of my neighbors had done one-tenth of those things for which he was accused, we would be rotting in prison with our entire lives forfeit.
No! We don't want to hear about the deficit shrinking; we want to hear about it gone. We don't want to hear that one-tenth of one percent of justice was done. We want to hear that justice is done.
We want to hear that he was stripped of his properties and all of his bank accounts and hiding places and that the money the taxpayers paid to investigate him has been repaid. We want to hear that the punitive payments cut another several million into the deficit. We want to hear that every elected official who screws the public, costing them millions while in office, then to investigate them, pays for it. That we no longer have to support them after they leave office in disgrace, that they have to find an honest job in this economy and scrape for a living like the rest of us.
If those in the government see that crime does not pay, perhaps there will be less of it. Start with Mike Easley, have him pay for the investigation into his abuses. Have him pay all the court costs, including those of the District Attorney for trying his case. Have him pay for the past costs that should have been his while in office. Then have him pay punitive damages, so that it will be a warning to all who would cheat the taxpayers in future. As it is, the message is that if you get away with it – great! If you don't get away with it – great! You get away with it anyway!
After Mike Easley pays his tab, go after the other files in the DA's office. In no time at all, you will be able to say that the deficit is down to $5.51. I'll run down to the Capital and pay it myself, just to have it be Zero.
What say, Gov? Send a message that crime does not pay for politicians as well as the rest of us mere mortals. That Mike Easley admitted guilt, no matter what you call it, and paid $1000 in fines and $153 in court costs is not only criminal, it's ridiculous.