February 22, 2013
Pat McCrory, Governor (R-Duke Energy)?
An epic conflict of interest
Duke Energy is an electrical monopoly in North Carolina. As such, any effort by Duke Energy to raise the rates it charges its customers to provide electricity must be subject to the approval of the North Carolina Utilities Commission.
Senate Bill 10 would fire all existing members of the State Utilities Commission and give the Governor the power to appoint new members. It’s already passed the state Senate and is being debated in the House.
Problem is, Pat McCrory not only owns about $10,000 in Duke Energy stock, he has a long history with the company, according to Sue Sturgis writing for the publication, Facing South:
In addition to having received generous campaign contributions from Duke Energy (the company, its political action committee, employees, and their families donated over $240,000 to McCrory’s 2008 and 2012 gubernatorial campaigns and to the state Republican Party since he became the party’s nominee, according to a recent report by the liberal advocacy group Progress NC), McCrory worked for the company for 28 years, starting out digging ditches and eventually making his way to a position as senior adviser with Duke’s Business and Economic Development Group before retiring in 2007 to run for governor.
There’s more and it all adds up to a clear conflict of interest for Gov. McCrory, says Progress NC, which has launched a petition demanding McCrory veto SB 10 or divest his Duke Energy holdings and recuse himself from making any appointments to the State Utilities Commission.
Here’s the bottom line. Pat McCrory makes money if Duke Energy makes money. Now, SB 10 would let him appoint Duke’s regulators who could then approve Duke’s double-digit hike in your electrical rates. We say that’s malarkey!
If you agree, click here to sign the Progress NC petition to Gov. McCrory.
The unemployment compensation stories are great. But in a fight like this, one punch is not enough. Let’s make an effective one-two punch. Here’s how:
You like throwing away money? Bailouts? People not being accountable for their own choices. Pat McCrory does.
Over the years business won rate cuts for unemployment insurance. (Did they share the savings with workers? No.) Then, when hard times hit, there wasn’t enough money. Now businesses (and Pat) are happy with leaving the bill for their past miscalculation with workers AND the rest of us.
Pat said NO to making business dig themselves out of the hole they created. Instead, Pat’s business bailout is on the backs of people who lost their jobs and on the rest of us, too,
Pat said NO to more than a hundred dollars of economic benefits per North Carolina taxpayer from helping laid off workers keep their heads above water just a little longer. (See Note, below)
Pat said NO to return of millions of our tax dollars from Washington which pays the costs of extended benefits this year. (See Note, below)
Pat said NO to time enough for laid off workers to find new jobs or to return to old jobs so they resume paying their share of our local sales and property tax contributions.
It’s our money Gov. McCrory is throwing away.
What’s Pat’s lesson for business? Business can be avoid being accountable for its miscalculations. Business can have its cake and eat it too.
What Pat’s lesson to us? Being business’s man does not mean you are a business man.
NOTE: Under the Fiscal Cliff bill the federal government extended unemployment benefits for 26 weeks. To ensure that states don’t take advantage of this by attempting to shift costs to the federal government, the Fiscal Cliff bill prohibits cuts in state benefit levels during the period the federal extension is in effect—in this case, through December 31, 2013. The NC benefit cuts result in the loss of extended federal benefits for as many as 80,000 long-term unemployed and reduce North Carolina’s economy by $700 million per year, even without considering the loss of extended federal benefits.