Closing Argument: Thom Tillis Helped Make North Carolina The Kochs’ “Model State”

October 30, 2014

In 2013, a year before Koch-backed groups had begun their all out assault to help elect Speaker Thom Tillis to the Senate, the head of the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity (AFP) said that North Carolina provided “a great opportunity” to “create a model state”. What exactly did the Kochs have in mind for this “model state?” If their support for his Senate candidacy is any indicator, it probably looks a lot like the extreme, Tea Party agenda enacted by Speaker Tillis – helping the wealthy and special interests at the expense of North Carolina’s schools and working families.

Speaker Tillis’s worked hard to deliver for the secretive billionaire Koch brothers. His budget gave massive tax breaks to millionaires and raised taxes on small business owners and seniors’ retirement income. It stripped $500 million in education funding over two years and cut 13,000 education jobs, causing good teachers to leave the state state due to a pay scale that ranks among the nation’s worst. It could even lead to cutting back Medicaid assistance for working families throughout the state. Tillis even fought to kill the state’s film tax credit, which supports 4,200 local jobs, after AFP decided it was against it.  In the Senate, not much would change for Tillis. Take minimum wage, for example. AFP opposes increasing the minimum wage, which Speaker Tillis has said he’d consider eliminating entirely.

Speaker Tillis has been so successful at enacting the core of the Koch agenda, in fact, that AFP held rallies earlier this year to celebrate his good deeds, while the Kochs and their family members poured in the cash to the tune of more than $10,000 in personal contributions to Tillis’s campaign. That doesn’t even begin to count the more than $13 million that Koch-backed or funded entities have spent on ads attempting to prop up Tillis and tear down his opponent. Make no mistake: these Koch front groups, like the National Federation of Independent Businesses, are nothing more than another attempt by the Kochs to drive their self-serving, anti-middle class agenda.

But the Kochs’ efforts to turn North Carolina into their own personal utopia don’t start and end with Thom Tillis. For years, the Kochs’ AFP has been working to drive the policy agenda further and further right in a state that’s growing more and more purple by the day. The Kochs’ primary piggy bank, Koch Industries, has also had a negative impact on the future of the state, with its subsidiaries laying off hundreds of workers in multiple cities. Whose side are the Kochs on in North Carolina? Clearly not that of working families.

When North Carolinians head to the polls on Tuesday, they should bear in mind the true agenda of the secretive billionaires responsible for keeping Speaker Tillis’s campaign afloat: massive cuts to education, tax breaks for the wealthy, and job losses left and right. If voters choose Thom Tillis, they should expect nothing but more of the same from this Koch crony in the U.S. Senate.

And if the Kochs get their way in 2014, they won’t stop there.  When it comes to carrying the water of the Koch brothers and their self-serving agenda, Speaker Tillis has been tied at the hip to Governor Pat McCrory, who has advocated for the Kochs every step of the way.  Surely the Kochs will be there for McCrory – an unpopular governor who has enacted an unpopular agenda (the Koch agenda) – as he seeks a second term.  We’ll be there as well working to expose another Koch crony to the voters and the devastating impact their self-serving agenda has had on the state of North Carolina.

Paid for by American Bridge 21st Century Foundation