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Dems criticize GOP as state budget process slows

Posted April 6, 2011

State budget

— House budget writers said Wednesday that they would delay the release of their next round of spending reduction options until next week.

Rep. Harold Brubaker, senior chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said subcommittee meetings set for Thursday to roll out menus of potential spending cuts had been canceled. Republican legislative leaders need more time to work out details, said Brubaker, R-Randolph.

Democratic lawmakers criticized the Republican leadership for handling many budget details behind the scenes and not in committee meetings. Gov. Beverly Perdue plans to speak Thursday about the apparent lack of focus by the General Assembly on the budget and boosting the state's economy.

"I think there are a lot of folks concerned about the process," said Sen. Linda Garrou, D-Forsyth.

Republicans had similar concerns about the budget process over the past six years when Garrou was the lead budget writer, but she noted that the GOP promised change when they seized control of the General Assembly in November's elections.

"They were going to be open and transparent," Garrou said. "Everything was going to be wonderful. They were going to show us. In fact, that's what we've heard – 'We're going to show you' – and I'm waiting for them to show me."

Lobbyists agreed that the GOP is no better than the Democrats at hammering out budget details in public.

"It's no different than it has been in the past. It's not a transparent process," said Rob Thompson, a member of the Together NC coalition opposed to drastic cuts in education and social service programs.

House and Senate budget leaders are no longer working as closely on how to close a projected shortfall of $2.4 billion next year. The two chambers had been working together for weeks, but now the House is working alone to assemble and approve its version of the budget. The Senate will follow with changes.

The new fiscal year starts on July 1.

North Carolina Legislature Building (4x3) Dems criticize GOP as state budget process slows

Brubaker said the chambers have different views on how deep cuts should be for public schools and the University of North Carolina system.

"You wake up in the middle of the night saying, 'How can we do all those things with no money?' It's frustrating," said Sen. Jerry Tillman, co-chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education.

Even with the delay, Tillman, R-Randolph, said the Republican-led legislature is making headway with the budget much faster than the Democrats used to.

"The pace has been the hardest thing for me to adjust to. We're moving at a very fast pace," he said.

House Speaker Thom Tillis promised transparency would be evident once appropriations subcommittees meet next week.

"The idea here was to gauge the viability of certain proposals to reach a point to where they should be considered by the committee," Tillis said. "What I think Democrats have been rightly criticized for (in the past) is that the recommendations in committee, as open as they may have been, bore no resemblance to the end product."

Nothing is set in stone yet, and everything in the budget will be up for an honest debate, he said.

"We won't have much patience for stonewalling, but we will have patience for good ideas and legitimate challenges to the things we have to deal with," he said.

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  • commonsense4 Apr 8, 2011

    The GOP is going to love education cuts. They want education cuts. After all, most of their votes come from uneducated people who believe all on Faux news is fact and not opinions, lmfao! The dumbing down of America can only help Republicans maintain power. It's sad yet comical - all these lower to middle class people have no idea that the GOP is all about the rich getting richer but they won't believe it until it's too late.

  • Come On_Seriously Apr 7, 2011

    Worland-where are you from? No unions in NC. Again trying to make people angry with misinformation. If you use facts, people might pay attention.

  • miketroll3572 Apr 7, 2011

    Democrats don't want to take the heat for being responsible, they would rather sit back and watch as America crumbles instead of getting on board and fixing the problems no matter how bad it hurts.....

  • Worland Apr 7, 2011

    After a 100 years of the Dem's wild spending in this state, it's going to take a few weeks to sort it all out! After all, the Dem's budgets have done nothing but buy votes with tax payer dollars and make fat cat union bosses richer.

  • bigal02282 Apr 7, 2011

    Amazing...even at the state level, and in today's economy no less, conservative/right-wingnut republicans and corporations are fighting the people of NC with all their might...it seems that they have realize their hold on power is nothing more that the cash handounts from big biz they have traded for votes...!!!!

  • GWALLY Apr 7, 2011

    Amazing...even at the state level, and in todays echonomy no less, liberal/entitlement democrats and unions are fighting budget cuts with all their might...it seems that they have realize their hold on power is nothing more that the entitlements they have traded for votes...!!!!

  • 27228 Apr 6, 2011

    It is simple, if all you care about is how low your taxes are.

  • whatusay Apr 6, 2011

    All the democrats have to do is vote "yes" on the spending cuts. Simple...