When Mike Easley came out with his budget last month proposing increases in the cigarette and alcohol taxes to pay for some of his priorities, it didn't take long for Joe Hackney and Marc Basnight to pretty much say that wasn't going to happen.
Their rationale is most likely that they don't want to do anything that Republican challengers could try to lord over Democratic incumbents this fall, but I figured if there were any tax increases that wouldn't be totally unpopular in these economic conditions they would be the ones Easley proposed.
Today's WRAL/Rasmussen Reports poll confirms my thinking- 58% of respondents said they supported Easley's proposal with just 34% expressing opposition.
Does that mean Hackney and Basnight were incorrect about the political fallout that would have? Not necessarily. I'm sure Republican legislative candidates would talk about the issue in much more negative terms than the balanced language Rasmussen used in the poll question. But it might not have been quite the unpopular proposal that the Democratic legislative leaders seemed to think it would be.
Water under the bridge now.