Local Politics

N.C. departments struggling with budget cuts

Posted September 27, 2010

State budget

— Facing an estimated $3 billion shortfall for the 2011-12 budget year, North Carolina's state's budget director has asked all state department heads to plan for spending reductions of up to 15 percent.

Those suggested cuts are due Oct. 29, but department leaders say they are struggling with where to cut.

Since 2009, the Department of Health and Human Services, for example, has cut $2 billion from its budget. The juvenile justice department has cut $22 million, which is 15 percent of its original budget.

With nine juvenile detention centers and eight youth development centers across the state, it's quite likely at least one may close, says William Lassiter, with the Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

"We've already had to lose after-school programming. We've already had to lose mentoring programs," Lassiter said. "This year, if we have to take additional cuts, we have to look at facility cuts."

An additional 15 percent cut would bring the department's budget allocation to the lowest level ever.

"If you cut anymore, you'll be cutting into core services that will affect public safety," Lassiter said.

Health and Human Services Secretary Lanier Cansler says facilities are safe. What's in jeopardy are the services.

"There may be some services that we say we can't do anymore," Cansler said. "There may be some services (where) we reduce the scope and do less."

Budget cuts loom for N.C. departments Budget cuts loom for N.C. departments

Cansler wouldn't specify what could be eliminated but said everyone would likely be affected in some way. He says a 15 percent reduction for DHHS equates to roughly $600 million.

"We are searching right now on how to do it," Cansler said. "I don't know how we're going to accomplish it. We're reviewing everything."

It's a message shared by other departments – the Department of Transportation, the Department of Correction, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol and state universities.

"Well, it's painful," said Holden Thorp, chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "We're talking about fewer classes, inadequate support."

Gov. Beverly Perdue said she wants to focus on eliminating programs and services that are no longer effective, reducing layers of management and administration and consolidating where possible.

She also believes the tough cuts ahead are no different from what families and businesses are facing.

"We have to do more with less, and I know the agency heads and the folks who work for North Carolina will step up and do their best," Perdue said.

The 2010-11 state budget totaled about $19 billion, down about $800 million from the year before.

Losers included the Personal Care Services program, which saw $50 million cut from efforts to provide in-home aid to the elderly and disabled; and Perdue's attempt to introduce hand-held devices to help teachers in lower grades assess student performance, which received $10 million instead of the requested $39 million.


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  • jdupree Sep 29, 2010

    Erskin Bowles left just in time. He will not have to make any hard decisions. Purdue is so busy runnung for next term she will not make them. What will they do when the money runs out. Another trip to Washington to beg, sell votes, etc. The current State Government is a joke. Problem is the joke is on the Tax Payer. More is never enough. They cannot spend it fast enough. You can't fix stupid but we can vote'em out!!!!!!!!!

  • gunny462 Sep 28, 2010

    Plenty Coups, you asked a VERY simple question and I answered it. Look it up or hold tongue. You think Bush did this on his own? I see that the years are rolling further back everytime a troll yells "Bush's fault!", pretty soon it's going to be "It's Clinton's fault!"

  • Plenty Coups Sep 28, 2010

    "Since this story talks about cutting Youth Offender Facilities I'm sure the next story will discuss cutting Police and Firefighters."

    What do you think your taxes support? Everyone wants cuts in spending but they want the other guy to be affected by the tax cuts and not themselves.

  • sammyg Sep 28, 2010

    I just hope the useless fat gets cut and not the hardworking people. I've seen it too many times before where upper management makes cuts but keeps raking in their large salaries (I've seen it happen at the N&O- a lot of those pompous bone heads are still working there too.)

  • Proud2BUS Citizen Sep 28, 2010

    I heard somewhere that New York State has increased their State Troopers time in stopping speeders, agressive drivers, etc. to help with their budget shortfall. Just think if NC did something like that. I get passed everyday on the Durham Freeway like I was standing still and this morning a car cut across all lanes of traffic just to make his exit.

  • anti-Hans Sep 28, 2010

    "Well, it's painful," said Holden Thorp, chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "We're talking about fewer classes, inadequate support."

    Seems to me they are paying too much into the tutoring program over there. The football players are getting great support.

  • too-obvious Sep 28, 2010

    don't legislate for 3 years. no new laws and pork spending.
    its only part time work for them anyway. that should not hurt. always told, don't depend on the side money you make.

  • jeanpleasants Sep 28, 2010

    why is when its someone els politicians say tighten your belt and suck it up but you never hear them say "just to help the budget, I'm going to take a 10% pay cut." as long as it doesn't affect their pockets its fine. Wonder where the money they would have made off internet cafes would have helped?

  • affirmativediversity Sep 28, 2010

    Ahhhh, I see the Democrats have started their "scare the masses" campaign early this budget cycle.

    I'm sure I'm not the only one who has noticed that all the cuts they suggest are to direct service providers...NEVER management.

    Since this story talks about cutting Youth Offender Facilities I'm sure the next story will discuss cutting Police and Firefighters.

    Finally 2 things will happen...Taxes on everything will be increased AND services to the disabled or seniors will be eliminated as "unnecessary."

  • wilmingtonNC Sep 28, 2010

    "I'm SOOO sick of all the illegal immigrants in this country---they're nothing but a drain on our system here!" (Chief Running Bear, circa 1820.)