Opinion

Opinion

Editorial: Still time to fix state budget into one that helps all North Carolinians

Posted June 16

A CBC Editorial: Friday, June 16, 2017; Editorial # 8174
​The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company

Word is that the remaining differences – whatever they might be -- between the N.C. House of Representatives and Senate over the state budget are being worked out by the legislature’s top-most leaders.

Sometime early next week the rest of us – including much of the General Assembly – will be clued into just how they intend to spend our money.

However, before they wrap things up, lawmakers still have the chance to correct their course on some misguided proposals remaining on the table as well as to incorporate some needs that have been ignored or forgotten.

First, stop giving the state’s revenue to people who don’t need it.

Continued cuts in the corporate income tax are unnecessary and jeopardize the ability of state government to meet the most basic needs of citizens. Budgets passed by the House and Senate don’t even keep up with inflation or the state’s growing population.  Most spending levels remains below what it was before the recession a decade ago.  Fully fund the state’s needs now.

Reverse the foolish neglect of public education. It’s no mystery what needs to be done: Move significantly closer to the national average, and not the basement, in teacher and school principal pay; Fully-fund pre-k education for all eligible children; properly fund the kindergarten through third grade class-size reduction mandate so NO teachers – including those who teach art, music, physical education and language arts – are removed; Provide adequate funds for textbooks and classroom technology; Institute significant accountability and transparency in the private school voucher program.

Take care of those in need. Reject spiteful cuts to important education programs that help disadvantaged students in the eastern part of the state; Discard mean-spirited cuts to food stamps – that would throw 133,000 people – children and the elderly included – off the program while not saving the state a dime.  Funding is also needed for the “raise-the-age” initiative to support the added workload in the juvenile court system.  Expand Medicaid health coverage to the 500,000 who are not covered that would be largely federally-funded.

Provide meaningful support for economic growth by: Funding broadband connectivity in rural and under-served areas at the $20 million level recommended by the governor; Fully-funding the One N.C. Job Development Investment grants; Reviving the motion picture tax credits; Supporting sustainable and renewable energy by fully-funding the research centers at Appalachian State, North Carolina A&T and N.C. State universities; Restoring the tax credits for renewable energy development and, Burying the Senate’s Luddite-like effort to impose a three-year ban on wind energy facilities.

There’s no mystery to writing a budget that meets the needs of North Carolinians: Support a quality public education; Provide for the public’s safety, including a clean environment; Promote a good quality of life that includes opportunities for good jobs, recreational and cultural opportunities and a sound infrastructure that enables people to conduct business efficiently and conveniently.

Legislative leaders need to take a good, hard look at the budget to see if it meets those basic criteria.

If not, go back to work to fix it. If the legislature fails in its responsibility, Gov. Roy Cooper should veto the budget and demand one that benefits all North Carolinians, not just an empowered, privileged few.

4 Comments

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  • Kyle Clarkson Jun 16, 3:59 p.m.
    user avatar

    Perhaps the most neglected budget issue over the past several years is state employee salaries. State employees had their career banding salary program completely removed back in 2008, and salaries were frozen. Sadly, this is still in place. Now that the state has a surplus, it's only reasonable to give fair raises to state employees, reinstate the career banding program, and un-freeze salaries.

  • Bill Greene Jun 16, 2:39 p.m.
    user avatar

    Apparently, all you know how to say, over and over and over, is "SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE SPEND MORE"

  • Chris Perdue Jun 16, 11:52 a.m.
    user avatar

    CBC--I bet you have accountants working day and night to make find every loophole and deduction that is available, so you can pay as little tax as legally possible. I would guess you do not pay one dime more than is required.

  • Teddy Fowler Jun 16, 10:41 a.m.
    user avatar

    Your opinion department spews out the same old opinions time after time... no original thought... never a center of the road opinion or heaven forbid a conservative thought here and there....