@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

Black lawmakers call for services, not 'sideshow'

Posted July 10

State budget

— North Carolina's Legislative Black Caucus is calling on Republican leaders to come to an agreement on a budget – and to ensure that the spending plan doesn't cut services for low-income families.

At a news conference Thursday, caucus leader Rep. Garland Pierce, D-Scotland, called Wednesday's contentious budget hearings a "sideshow."

"We've had six months to work these budget proposals out, and still, here we are July 10 with no end in sight, it appears," Pierce said. "It's really ludicrous to talk about being here at Christmas when this should have been worked out before now."

"Let's stop walking out of rooms," said Rep. Yvonne Holley, D-Wake. "Let's start talking to each other." 

Caucus members expressed outrage that cuts to teaching assistants, after-school programs and Medicaid services could be under consideration as House and Senate leaders look for ways to pay for wage increases for teachers and state employees.  

"It appears, from all we see now, that the budget is going to be balanced on the back of these most vulnerable people in our society, and the Legislative Black Caucus, along with other leaders and our Democrats, they have a real issue with that," said Pierce. 

Rep. Charles Graham, D-Robeson, said after-school programs provide supervision and education, keeping children safe while their parents work. Without the programs, he said, some parents may have to give up hours or even second jobs.

"We’re talking about families, mothers and fathers who are out there working," Graham said. "This service gives them the opportunity to go to their job, provide a level income to their families. Now, what will happen when these families no longer have that service?"  

Graham also decried the Senate's proposed cuts to teaching assistants, saying Robeson County would lose funding for 117 positions.

"Our rural counties cannot afford to pick up that cost," he said.

Holley asked Republican leaders to reconsider tax cuts passed in 2013 that contributed to a revenue shortfall this year of nearly $500 million. More cuts are set to take effect next year. 

Without that shortfall, House senior budget writer Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, said Wednesday, legislators wouldn't be struggling to pay for both teacher wage increases and teaching assistants.

"When is it OK to say, 'Maybe what we've done is gone a little too far, and it’s time to back up?'" Holley said. "I think the time to back up is now. I think we need to take a good hard look at what we’re doing to North Carolina, and say, 'Let’s slow this train down a little bit.'" 

As of 1 p.m., neither House nor Senate budget conferees had called a meeting Thursday to offer a new compromise spending plan.

17 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oldest First
View all
  • unblankenbelievable Jul 11, 9:34 a.m.

    We’re talking about families, mothers and fathers who are out there working," Graham said. "This service gives them the opportunity to go to their job, provide a level income to their families. Now, what will happen when these families no longer have that service?"
    Read more at http://www.wral.com/black-lawmakers-call-for-services-not-sideshow-/13801856/#1DjoK9EuGTmR40ZM.99

    Don't have a clue on what services your talking about but when these families no longer have this so called service, maybe it's time for them to wise up and do something for themselves instead of depending on me all the time. I'm actually sick of it!

  • lopo Jul 11, 9:16 a.m.

    What has the poor ever did, they never offered me a job, they don't pay taxes, never gave me a loan for a car or a house or even givenb to carity. But they want want want? Kind of like zombies, they consume but never give back.

  • smdrn Jul 11, 8:48 a.m.

    Low income people are where they are at because of choices that they made. Period. Granted, anyone can have some life-altering event that can put him in a bad situation. For those that have always worked hard and made sacrifices, this will be a temporary situation. The welfare system should be a hand-up system to help those get back on their feet.

    Unfortunately, our welfare system is a hand-out system. Why 'poor' people cannot be held accountable for decisions and actions they made is ridiculous. If you have a minimum wage job and can't afford to take care of your own needs, get a second job. Or get training for a better job. And don't even think about having a child. This is what responsible people do.

    Time for the gravy train to pull into the station. The only thing poor about these people are the continued choices they make.

  • jeffjohnson123 Jul 10, 5:44 p.m.

    Message to legislators.... Stop freely spending my money or I'll do like so many do, and start holding my hand out to you.
    Income is taxed (federally and state), purchasing money is subject to sales tax, property is taxed just for having it, real estate is taxed (even if it is your only home), Utilities are taxed, gas is taxed, cigarettes are taxed, alcohol is taxed... ENOUGH !!!!!!

  • Winchester-.308 Jul 10, 4:45 p.m.

    Yet Rev Barbour is in charge of the biggest "sideshow" of all, and the LBC says nothing about... View More

    — Posted by wildween

    Amen to all of that!

  • Eastern N.C. Native Jul 10, 4:38 p.m.

    Why is there a "black caucus"? Why is this necessary?

  • miseem Jul 10, 3:43 p.m.

    "We’re talking about families, mothers and fathers who are out there working," Graham said.... View More

    — Posted by 50s Child

    You want to pay for the staff to do that? While it's a good idea, you can't just wave a magic wand and get free cloned DSS workers. Or auditors for Medicare payments.

  • notexactly Jul 10, 3:33 p.m.

    yep since the feds just got snagged paying out 100 billion to bogus people. Heard this yesterday on the news They sent unemployment checks, disability checks, and other free money out to people that didn't qualify for it. Where are all the people saying there is little fraud in gimme programs now???? Sad part is, none of the sorry people that got the money returned it. Tells you a little something about the people on the system don't it. They knew when they got the money it wasn't right. WOW. But I am sure someone will defend them.

  • 50s Child Jul 10, 2:58 p.m.

    "We’re talking about families, mothers and fathers who are out there working," Graham said. "This service gives them the opportunity to go to their job, provide a level income to their families. Now, what will happen when these families no longer have that service?"

    Couldn't he have said "families" a few more times?

    Are these "families" screened every month to make sure that mother and father are both working, both living in the home, BOTH listed on ALL welfare applications (and all other questions answered completely and truthfully), and would actually have to quit a job in order to stay home with the kids they CHOSE to make? Or is this just more Black Caucus rhetoric?

  • Mods Hate Me Jul 10, 2:37 p.m.

    More gimme gimme gimme. I can't send my kids to afterschool care because it would actually cost me money. By the time I add up all the expenses that these people are getting for free, I end up having much less disposable income. Frankly, I'm sick of footing the bill especially when I see free lunch/free daycare kids in our school wandering around in KD's while texting on their iphones.

More...