@NCCapitol

GOP sets $18.3B spending target

Posted February 23, 2011

State budget

— Republican legislative leaders on Wednesday set an $18.3 billion spending target for the fiscal year that starts in July, about $1.6 billion less than the budget proposed last week by Gov. Beverly Perdue.

They presented outlines to appropriations subcommittees in both the House and Senate that include possible funding cuts to the University of North Carolina system and pre-kindergarten programs and higher co-payments from people covered by human services programs.

“No decisions have been made. No specific positions or programs have been targeted,” Sen. President Pro Tempore Phil Berger said in a statement. “We were elected to reduce spending and right-size state government. This is the first step in that process.”

Lawmakers said they reviewed the current budget line by line over the past three months to arrive at the spending targets. They said their final budget will likely be larger because it will include other items not covered by the targets set for the appropriations subcommittees.

Republican legislators have vowed to balance the budget and rein in state spending without raising taxes. Perdue's proposal included rolling back only a portion of a penny increase to the state sales tax rate that is scheduled to expire in June, and it calls for lowering the threshold for North Carolina's estate tax.

Education spending would account for more than half of the GOP's target, at almost $10.5 billion. Among the items being considered are capping university enrollment, encouraging more students to enroll at community colleges for their freshman and sophomore years and cutting funding for "less essential" classes and degrees.

Lawmakers also plan to look at consolidating or eliminating the Smart Start and More at Four programs that help prepare youngsters for public school.

"As (the cut to education spending) gets bigger and bigger, it's going to make it harder and harder," said Leanne Winner, director of government relations for the North Carolina School Boards Association.

GOP sets $18.3B spending target GOP sets $18.3B spending target

"I think, as we work through this process, we're going to have to find we need more revenue to protect the great things we have about our state," said Sen. Linda Garrou, D-Forsyth.

"She's on the side of the aisle that is spend, spend, spend and used one-time money of $3 billion to plug the hole. I would expect her to say that," said Rep. Harold Brubaker, R-Randolph, a senior budget writer for the House.

"There are no sacred cows. Everything is on the table," Brubaker said.

Funding for the Department of Health and Human Services would have a target of $4.3 billion, and lawmakers are looking at closing facilities, using managed care and provider assessments to control spending and raising co-payments for service.

"It's a scary time because you don't know where they want to cut or what they're aiming for and what services in particular," said Tracy Colvard, director of government relations for the Association of Home and Hospice Care. "It's a nervous time for everyone."

Closing facilities, reducing the cost of inmate health care and finding low-cost ways of handling people convicted of misdemeanors are among the items under consideration to limit public safety spending to $2.1 billion.

Lawmakers also might scale back environmental regulations to match federal standards, review economic development programs for possible reduced funding, privatize services and have some state employees work from home.

Although transportation funding comes from gasoline taxes and other fees and not from the state budget, lawmakers also noted that they might rework the formula for dividing money for road projects across North Carolina.

“The new majority in the General Assembly did not create this budget shortfall, but we were elected to fix it," House Speaker Thom Tillis said in a statement. "To do so, we have announced aggressive targets to reign in state spending, which has ballooned over the last decade. Everything is on the table as we look for creative solutions to this problem."

56 Comments

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  • WooHoo2You Feb 24, 4:56 p.m.

    WooHoo - This is funny. I cannot beleive your argument. The state union gives money to liberal politicians because they support a belief or cause. Please tell me what beleif and cause other than wages and pensions,etc does the State union and liberal politicians support. Why is this money donoted. I can't wait for this one, if you only knew how bozo you sound. I have not laughed so hard in a while.-johnnyplusthree

    You are right it is funny that I am arguing with someone that cannot understand the difference between and union and association. This association has NO union like powers. Next thing you will be calling the Boy Scouts a ‘paramilitary’ organization because they practice survival skills. I am “bozo” because I am even bothering with you.

  • MakoII Feb 24, 4:22 p.m.

    Speaking of giving money and getting in return, the Koch brothers, billionaire energy tycoons gave Walker 1 million in campaign donations. Walker has in THIS bill a new law. It would allow the state to sell, no bid, to ANY private agency for a price the State felt would be a good price.

    Really? I wonder if the governor knows anyone who has a billion dollar energy company that could buy up WI power plants. Hmmmmm.

    But I'm sure a UNION, negotiating a CONTRACT that would be SIGNED by the other party that AGREES to it, no that's underhanded, blackmailing and subversive. How DARE they on top of that LOBBY!!

    No, its better to bribe the governor than to bribe the many legislators. One man. Quick. Easy. Effective.

  • A Libertarian Feb 24, 3:34 p.m.

    WooHoo - This is funny. I cannot beleive your argument. The state union gives money to liberal politicians because they support a belief or cause. Please tell me what beleif and cause other than wages and pensions,etc does the State union and liberal politicians support. Why is this money donoted. I can't wait for this one, if you only knew how bozo you sound. I have not laughed so hard in a while.

  • WooHoo2You Feb 24, 3:20 p.m.

    johnnyplusthree,

    -WooHoo - If you think the the teachers and state eomployees that belong their unions cannot vote, you do not understand basic civil liberties.

    You clearly stated that ‘unions vote.’

    - If you think the unions send money to liberal politicians without something in return, you have some serious problems.

    Most donations go to from ‘like minded’ politicians that may support an organizations beliefs or cause. It is not a bribe. (At least to the Left it is not a bribe)

    -State Employee union website - http://www.seanc.org/. Yes they recieve dues and lobby in favor of state unions.

    That is what I was referring to. It is NOT a union. They do not have strike power, they do not negotiate pay, etc. All the things unions do.

    I can donate money to the SPCA however they does not mean I am in a union.

    -I beleive you are proving the point why state employees do such as bad job and get such a bad rap. You struggle with basic concepts.

    You seem to be the one “str

  • A Libertarian Feb 24, 3:02 p.m.

    State Employee union website - http://www.seanc.org/. Yes they recieve dues and lobby in favor of state unions. Their members vote liberal in exchange for higher wages and benefits. The teachers union does the same.

  • A Libertarian Feb 24, 2:57 p.m.

    WooHoo - If you think the the teachers and state eomployees that belong their unions cannot vote, you do not understand basic civil liberties. If you think the unions send money to liberal politicians without something in return, you have some serious problems. I beleive you are proving the point why state employees do such as bad job and get such a bad rap. You struggle with basic concepts.

  • we_all_have_it_coming Feb 24, 2:54 p.m.

    Dingleballs is at it again.. posting about state employee unions in every thread.

    You really have an axe to gring, heh?

    Sadly.... it sounds like you really think state employees have a union... and pay dues.

    I can barely keep a straight face.... I mean .... pay dues? NC state employees pay dues?

    Wow... you really have gotten your shorts twisted tight over mis-information.

    There is no state employee union... no dues... no political pay-back... no favors.

    Think man..... the general assembly is about to slash 10,000 state positions, make them pay more for their health insurance, no raises for several years past and none in the future, ... whatever they want to do to save money.

    And... these tyrannical state employees also have to pay the same taxes as you.

    BTW... why don't you get one of those cushy state jobs? (when they start hiring again, of course)

  • WooHoo2You Feb 24, 2:39 p.m.

    It is simple, pay the state employees same as a private employee with no pension or healthcare, or let the private do the task at a much cheaper rate. Simple math!-johnnyplusthree

    Or just outsource everything and save even more. Simple math!

  • WooHoo2You Feb 24, 2:37 p.m.

    johnnyplusthree,

    -Bendal, They do have unions. Just because htis is a right to work state, does not mean they are not a union. If you are dissatisfied with the definition of a union, you need to argue with webster, meridan and other dictionary publishers.

    Try googling “nc teachers union “and see what you get, nothing. Twisting the word “association” into ‘union’ does not make it one.

    -The liberal politicains trades benefits, higher wages, etc for votes.

    Really, so if a teacher votes non-Dem they do not get a raise.

    -Why do you think unions vote for liberals?

    Unions cannot vote.

    -Why do you think the teacher and state unions donote your union dues to these politicians, are you really that naive???

    Maybe because unions are more pro-employee than pro-employer than the Repubs. Why do you think large corporates donate large sums of money to the Right, ‘are you really that naive???”

  • A Libertarian Feb 24, 2:35 p.m.

    It is simple, pay the state employees same as a private employee with no pension or healthcare, or let the private do the task at a much cheaper rate. Simple math!

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