Local Politics

Easley budgets money for children, needy

Posted May 8, 2008 1:54 p.m. EDT
Updated May 8, 2008 2:01 p.m. EDT

— Gov. Mike Easley said Thursday that his 2008-09 budget proposal will recommend spending $31 million to help children and others in need.

He will present the budget to state lawmakers next week when the General Assembly convenes for its short session.

“One of the most important roles of government is to look after and protect the basic human rights of those who cannot stand up for themselves,” Easley said in a statement. “Without this support, these people would be neglected and would not receive the critical aid they need o help them lead fuller lives and be productive members of our society.”

The proposed budget includes the following spending:

  • $10.4 million to match federal child health insurance funding to serve an additional 10,683 children in need.
  • $9 million in federal block grant dollars to take 1,110 children off child care waiting lists.
  • $8.3 million to increase foster care and adoption payments to encourage quality care for more children.
  • $1 million for the Health Quality Initiative, which will standardize the level of care and insurance coverage for diabetes, asthma, hypertension, congestive heart failure and heart attack – the five most chronic conditions.
  • $1 million to increase inspections of poultry plants and ensure proper working conditions.
  • $1 million to help homeowners who face foreclosure find alternatives. Housing counselors working with the state Housing Finance Agency and the state Commissioner of Banks will help develop deferred payments, modified loan terms, freezing interest rates or other options to keep people in their homes.
  • $714,000 to help prevent exposure to agricultural pesticides, including increased education efforts for farm workers, additional trainers, increased field inspections and compliance monitoring and illness and injury reporting.
  • $600,000 to assist rape victims and pay for medical examination and evidence kits.