Quick: Name where the country of Moldova is anyway?
If you guessed between Romania and Ukraine, you should go on Jeopardy! and give Ken Jennings a run for his all-time winnings record of over $3.1 million in 74 victories on the show.
In these times of economic uncertainty and budget excesses, we thought we would bring to your attention this as just one example of a government program that can and should be eliminated and save some hard-earned taxpayer money for the taxpayers.
In North Carolina, there is the ‘North Carolina-Moldova Partnership Committee’ which has at least 8 board members who are appointed by the Governor and who go on trade missions to the country of Moldova at least once per year it appears.
‘In 1999, then-governor Jim Hunt and the president of Moldova jointly established the North Carolina-Moldova Partnership Committee to promote private sector cooperation and international commercial activity, as well as scientific, academic and scholarly pursuits in arts, humanities and education exchanges.’*
The only reason why we even knew about it was that a friend of ours mentioned that there are now 10,000 board and commission positions that can be filled by political appointment in the State of North Carolina.
That means roughly 1 out of every 1000 North Carolinians are on some state board or commission each and every year.
However, since roughly 50% of the voting population are not on the ‘winning side’ each election cycle, that number drops to 1 out of every 500 North Carolinians from the ‘winning side’ each election are on some board or commission each gubernatorial cycle.
And since very, very few people are actually active in the political process when it comes to volunteering to work on a campaign or to contribute to any campaign (less than 4% give any money at all…ever), that number drops to perhaps 1 out of every 10 active political people in North Carolina can be on some sort of board and commission.
We are not saying all boards and commissions are ‘bad’. Many serve very useful public service functions. We need our very best and qualified citizens to not only run for political office and but also to serve on the Boards of Governors, Trustees or Directors of government-related or sponsored activities such as education and environmental protection.
But ‘mission trips to Moldova’? Can’t that be handled by the private sector in total all by themselves?
For one thing, if there is a profit to be made by trading with the good folks of Moldova, we are sure some enterprising American will figure out a way to do it without the help of the North Carolina-Moldova Partnership Committee.
Or maybe there is a budding entrepreneurial Moldovan who will figure out that the United States of America is a place where he/she can find a market for his/her products or services and become the richest person Moldova has ever seen in its history. They will find a way to pay for that access without having any taxpayer in North Carolina pay for it.
We don’t have the budget handy but we would be shocked to learn that no state taxpayer dollar has ever gone to support any aspect of the NC Partnership Committee over the past 14 years of its existence or paid for any of the junkets (er, ‘fact-finding mission trips’) that its Board Members have made to the wonderful nation of Moldova on a yearly basis.
We do know that state government-taxpayer paid staff and elected officials’ time and energy does get chewed up by even having such an appointed committee. Why? Because they, as paid officials and staff, have to sort through the stacks of names of people who might be interested in being a member of any board/commission/partnership when they could be solving our Medicaid crisis; our primary and secondary educational system or repairing our roads and bridges before one of them falls into the Pamlico Sound such as the bridge that collapsed in NW Washington state yesterday.
Any time any elected official or their staff spends one second on evaluating an application to become the next committee member on any board or commission in North Carolina, that is one second of their taxpayer-paid salary that you and I pay through our taxes every year.
North Carolina has 10,000 board and commission positions to fill. Don’t you have to believe we can get away with maybe having only 9,992 board and commission positions to fill if the North Carolina-Moldova Partnership Committee was dissolved?
How about going to only 7000 appointive positions in the state? 5000? That is still a pretty hefty number, isn’t it?
See? Having a smaller government starts with a tiny baby step. Once you begin to realize we don’t need to have all the government we have in place today, becoming a small government advocate such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison becomes a lot easier.
Plus it will keep your money in your pocket where it belongs because your taxes will never go up again in the state of North Carolina.
Small government is directly linked to lower taxes, you know.
* Source: Winston-Salem Business Journal, July 18, 2001