Who killed the dinosaurs? A state budget mystery

Posted July 10

A Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton on display at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences.

— Once, major funding to expand the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences' popular dinosaur exhibit roamed the pages of North Carolina's newest state budget.

Now, that money is nearly extinct. The cause? The General Assembly's annual technical corrections bill, which made dozens of changes to the two-year budget less than two weeks after the full budget emerged from House and Senate negotiations.

Language that once laid out $1.5 million to improve the exhibit and the visible-to-the-public paleontology laboratory that goes with it, was massaged in the technical corrections bill, siphoning out about $1.23 million. Museum officials said they're not sure why. The legislature has been generous in the past with the museum, which is open free of charge in part due to state taxpayer subsidies.

"Disappointed and surprised," said Keith Poston, president of the museum's board of directors, said of the late-breaking cut.

Repeated attempts to track down the reasoning for or the author of this cut have not been successful. House Appropriations Senior Chairman Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, referred questions to House Speaker Tim Moore's office, but Moore's spokesman did not respond to messages.

The money would have been used to make the paleontology lab "bigger and more visible" to visitors and to draw people in from the street, Poston said. The project will still happen eventually, he said, and the museum will seek both public and private funds. Meanwhile, the exhibit as-is remains open.

"It may take a little bit longer," Poston said. "This is the most visited place in the state, and everybody loves dinosaurs."


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Quid Malmborg Jul 12, 5:11 a.m.
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Maybe the Koch Bros. will donate.

  • Paul Shields Jul 11, 4:48 p.m.
    user avatar

    As long as nascar got 250 K I guess everything else is ok right, lol

  • Robert Swiger Sr. Jul 11, 9:35 a.m.
    user avatar

    Let donations pay for this

  • Benjamin Kite Jul 10, 5:04 p.m.
    user avatar

    Dinosaurs are a liberal science myth. Anyway, we have to save money for Duke's coal powered replica of Noah's Ark, and we still haven't paid for the termite and woodpecker proof architectural drawings for that. Satanic science can wait.

  • Rod Runner Jul 10, 4:16 p.m.
    user avatar

    So unless that money is being cut from taxes and not collected, where is it going?

    Are we going to let the legislature do this to our money? This budget is the law now, the veto was overridden.

    This is just the further Trumpification of a budget. Cutting something educational because there is no perceived benefit in it. God forbid people learn something.

    Actually, that's what many of them want, to say that "God, please, forbid people to learn this."

  • Scott Stupak Jul 10, 9:56 a.m.
    user avatar

    The money went to fund the dinosaur denialists charter schools