State News

Senate gives $19B budget tentative OK

Posted May 19, 2010

State budget

— The state Senate gave tentative approval Wednesday to a $19 billion plan to run North Carolina state government for the coming year that limits public education cuts at the expense of health care and other programs.

The chamber voted 32-17 in favor of a plan that closes a projected $788 million deficit. The Senate's final vote will come on Thursday.

During the nearly two-hour debate, Democratic leaders said the budget plan makes painful decisions but will keep North Carolina on the path to economic recovery. Republicans countered that spending actually increases $450 million over 2009-10 and won't do much to create jobs.

Senate budget debate Republicans say Senate plan spends too much

"This budget makes the long-term fiscal problems facing the state worse," Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger said.

Republican senators also maintained that the budget proposal understates spending by omitting about $1.6 billion that will be covered by federal economic stimulus funds.

"You're going to think this is Christmastime compared to what we're going to be facing (next year) because we put our heads in the sand," said Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg.

Sen. Daniel Clodfelter, D-Mecklenburg, fired back that North Carolina's growing population necessitates more spending, but he noted that per capita spending under the Senate's proposal would go down by 3.5 percent.

"Would you have wanted to increase class size (for) K-12? Would you have wanted to eliminate need-based financial aid?" Sen. Josh Stein, D-Wake, asked his Republican colleagues.

Senators also debated the tax credits for small businesses that are included in the budget proposal.

Rucho called them "a Band-Aid on a bleeding artery."

"There's not one thing in this budget that's going to allow me to hire one more person back," said Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson.

Democrats said it's hard to have a perfect budget in a struggling economy.

"What we've done, I think, with this budget is keep the dream alive," Senate Majority Leader Martin Nesbitt said.

Once the Senate approves its budget, the House will take its turn at crafting a spending plan for the 2010-11 fiscal year, which starts in July.

Critics have blasted the Senate leadership for rushing its budget through without much debate, so the House Appropriations Committee has scheduled a public hearing for next Monday to receive comments about the state budget.

The hearing will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. at the McKimmon Center on the North Carolina State University campus. Bladen Community College in Dublin, Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte and Southwestern Community College in Sylva will host interactive broadcasts of the hearing, which also will be streamed online.


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  • weasel2 May 20, 2010

    Its about time all of the people with their hands out in todays society start working for the dollars their given. All I ever hear is people blaming each party, how about voting the old heads out and get someone in there that is not afraid to tell people if you want to eat you need to produce (and not just babies). Tired of watching my money go to every poor me program and then being told I have to pay more taxes to support another buyout or handout.

  • souljp1 May 20, 2010

    research9 so what's the soulution and don't give me all this hogwash like you and all the repubs like to spin(loads of talk but no substance) , give me a no non-sense answer..

  • research9 May 20, 2010

    Soul, the democrats push through New Deal economics. What's your point? JFK (a hard left crat) used Reagonomics (of course it wasn't called that, because it was before Reagan) but they instituted the SAME changes and brought us out of recession. It's a different place but the principle is the same. We will never get out of this recession until jobs pick up, which won't pick up without corporate spending. But corporations aren't spending, they are holding onto investment capital because they are being taxed to death and the economy hasn't rebounded completely so they're cautious to spend. Lower corporate taxes, instate a tax cut for manu equipment, and they'll start spending money (ie. new jobs, more equipment, etc). Our manufacturing sector needs to rebound first. There's my solution, I am not a republican. Learn about economics before stop spouting off liberal generalities.

  • souljp1 May 20, 2010

    You people Kill me, always citing REAGANOMICS for a cure all.. Pleasee that was then a different place in time and this is now REALITY... Republicans never have a solution to anything, all they do is say this and that will cost to much unless their party is in charge then it's a spend spend.. And all the DITTO HEADs(REPUBLICANS) just fall in line.. You have a grip then please have a solution, a real solution..

  • research9 May 20, 2010

    Actually, froggy, Reaganomics did work. Reagan repealled JFK's tax cut for new manu. equipment and instead accelerated depreciation from 15 years to 5. Soon after, New Deal economists got angry and returned the depreciation rate to 15 years, but did not reinstate the tax cut. Manufacturing and the economy tanked in 1990 and everyone blamed Reagan. When in fact, his policy would have been perfectly fine had no one messed with it.
    And if you don't like Reagan's policies then you must have disliked JFK too, because they put in place the same policies (almost verbatim) and brought this country out of horrible recessions. They both (a pub and a crat) gave tax cuts to the rich to increase investment capital, without any irrational New Deal spending.
    Taxing corporations very rarely changes the CEO's salary. It just lowers the amount of investment capital available to buy new equipment (ie. SPEND MONEY). Lowering taxes frees up capital for corporations to spend.

  • JustAName May 20, 2010

    "Sorry, reganomics does not work."

    Actually it did work. It was the democrat control congress that couldn't stop the spending.

  • mountainlover May 20, 2010

    whatelseisnew: Unless you die an untimely death, you too will get old one day. You do not have a CLUE what lies ahead. I just served as power of attorney for my parents for three years. This I will promise you. There is NO WAY under the heavens that each individual can prepare financially for the health care needs that may lie ahead in old age. Be careful what you say; what goes around comes around.

  • froggytroat May 20, 2010

    >>Substantially lower the tax rate for the rich and watch the economy turn around.

    Sorry, reganomics does not work.

  • froggytroat May 20, 2010

    >>it is not the Government's job to keep people alive

    Wow, so in other words, everyone should have health care?

  • Waterrox May 19, 2010

    I know a lot of good men that are going to lose their jobs because of this budget. Very few, if any, state employees are on the take, and for the barrel to suffer because of a few rotten apples appalls me. Us remaining state employees will be expected to pick up the slack for those unrightfully terminated.

    The state would do best to terminate those based on our performance evaluations, instead of eliminating an entire unit based on the legislatures perceived need.

    Trust me, I will be watching the legislatures' vote on the budget very carefully, and my vote will sound loudly based on the ballot they cast.