State News

State ag commissioner refuses to suggest budget cuts

Posted November 10, 2010

— North Carolina's commissioner of agriculture said Wednesday that he will not suggest areas to cut his department's budget, despite Gov. Beverly Perdue's request that agencies pinpoint ways to trim spending.

Commissioner Steve Troxler said his agency operates efficiently and has seen a stagnant budget over the past decade. He argued that additional cuts would impede the work that the agency does, such as food safety inspections.

"We have cut, cut, cut, and we are to the point that further cuts are going to mean that the mandated things we do in this department can't be done like they need to be done," said Troxler, a Republican who is serving his second term in charge of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

He also said it would be impossible to identify areas to cut ahead of a possible state government reorganization.

"Identifying specific cuts right now is putting the cart before the horse," he said.

The agriculture department accounts for less than 1 percent of the state budget.

Perdue, a Democrat, has asked all agencies to lay out possible cuts of 5, 10 and 15 percent to help budget writers prepare for a statewide deficit that could reach $3 billion. Perdue spokesman Chrissy Pearson said Troxler was the only state government chief to refuse the effort.

Pearson said the governor's office would find the cuts if Troxler doesn't provide them and that Perdue's staff believes the agriculture department can be more lean.

"Everyone is similarly disturbed by the idea of cutting up to 15 percent from their agencies. Everyone feels like the work they do is essential and important. We respect that," she said. "At the same time, we feel like state government still has areas we can trim."

State agriculture department State ag commissioner refuses to suggest budget cuts

The North Carolina Democratic Party quickly jumped on Troxler's refusal to submit a list of potential cuts, calling it "hypocrisy."

"We knew Republicans had no real answers to the budget difficulties facing our state and no interest in actually working to balance the budget," Andrew Whalen, executive director of the Democratic Party, said in a statement. "Steve Troxler’s refusal to recommend any budget cuts shows that all their campaign rhetoric was just that – cheap talk.”

Republican legislative leaders said after their historic election victories last week that state agencies would see deep spending cuts in the coming year as they work to balance the budget without any tax increases.

"We will be looking at all of the agencies – all their budgets – and trying to find savings everywhere we can find," Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, said Wednesday.

Pearson noted that every agency should be prepared for cuts, including education and commerce, and she said the governor would use her discretion in deciding whether entire programs need to be eliminated or whether agencies simply need to make trims.

"No agency will be untouched," she said. "It's not realistic. It wouldn't be fair."

Troxler said he would leave the decisions on cuts to Perdue and lawmakers.

"It's not like we haven't cut, and it's not like we haven't done our part," he said. "The thing I have chosen to do is not play politics with people's lives, and I'm going to stand by that."


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  • jscletsplay1002002 Nov 11, 2010

    Cut his paycheck if he doesnt want to give you something he would rather, you cut!! That would be a good start.

    He would rather you waste money,time, and effort on fixing things needed to be fixed. Typical politition.

  • Cricket at the lake Nov 11, 2010

    He is the kind of Republican we do not need. He just lost reelection.

  • hereof66876 Nov 11, 2010

    I agree with xtremedragonz2000. Someone said they get full benefits too the rest of their life after serving only one term?? Some state/federal employees make as much as the President. Why do public schools need 3-4 asst principals and not more teachers in the classroom instead?? Why don't they build larger schools utiliizing the large number of APs?? It would help with busing too. PA teachers said they don't have busing problems/school on every corner like Wake Co because of the larger size of schools and have higher rated education system too. There's a lot of waste in state government. Larger schools utilizes one location with more teachers while utilizing 3-4 asst principals at each large school instead of 3-4 APs at numerous small/average schools. Politics in HS sports makes it unfair for all students and make it private like other countries that put their money into education and not political HS sports. NC is near bottom in education so smaller schools are not working anyway.

  • artist Nov 11, 2010

    This guy has been an embarrassment since day 1.

    I am glad he is throwing his drawl of superiority around.... so he can get his corn cob cut off in public.

    Dems/Reps.... You guys bicker to the point of stupidity. You are everything you complain about. Come back to reality.

    Cut - cut - and cut some more!! NC is rampant with waste.

  • geosol Nov 10, 2010

    Love to read the posts from the right wingers as they try to defend this guy! Hypocrisy at its finest!!! IF you really want people to believe that you are serious about cutting spending, you can't just exempt Republicans. Or maybe you think you can. This should be fun!!! REMEMBER IN 2012!!!!!

  • geosol Nov 10, 2010

    CLASSIC!!!! This is just the start of the right wing hypocrisy. "Cut spending**"
    ** EXCEPT for the things that Republicans control!

    If you really thought the GOP was concerned about deficits like they led you to believe in their campaigns, this is a shining example of what to expect in the next two years. Those of you calling for Troxler's impeachment are wasting your time. Even though he is clearly not fulfilling his duty as an elected official, the new right wing legislature will protect him at all costs and pretend that "budget cuts aren't applicable to the things WE like." REMEMBER IN 2012!!!!

  • North Carolina Home Nov 10, 2010

    It appears that most of you are posting without reading the article. Steve Troxler KNOWS his budget will be cut. It is not his responsibility to give Gov. Perdue an out by saying where. She has already responded that she will cut it anyway. Steve Troxler has said he will work within whatever budget he has.

    So what's the big deal? He just threw the ball back in her court which is where it belongs anyway.

    BTW, he is an ELECTED official not appointed by the governor and I imagine his constituency his far larger than hers currently.

  • ratherbnwpb Nov 10, 2010

    No, the shortfall is due to spending too much. In your household budget, you don't plan on some good samaritan coming along and handing out money to help you balance your budget. Even if the good samaritan promises to steal the money from others. Particularly if the GS has to borrow the money to give it to you.

    Oh! I just love the uninformed! Thats your story, tell it like you want!

  • avidreader Nov 10, 2010

    No one is going to want to cut - they will all want to raise our taxes. How do they think the state will survive if we don't make cuts? They may hurt, and they may affect me, a state employee, but they must be made and made quickly.

  • xtremedragonz2000 Nov 10, 2010

    Well if the Gov. wants to trim the fat in the state budget, all she needs to do is cut the saleries of the state reps house and senate members, bring those saleries down to oh say $ 70,000 per yr instead of the almost 200,000 + that they make now and that will knock a HUGE dent in the shortfall