From the experts at the Budget and Tax Center:
MEDIA RELEASE: Senate budget “continues troubling trend” of inadequate investment, lack of transparency
BTC statement: released late last night, the proposal allows little time for public debate on its divestment from critical needs
Statement from Alexandra Forter Sirota, Director, NC Budget & Tax Center
RALEIGH (June 11, 2012) — The Senate budget proposal, released around 11:15 p.m. last night, continues a troubling trend away from increased transparency and accountability in budget deliberations. The Senate budget is anticipated to move quickly through the appropriations committee and floor with little time allowed for public comment or debate. As the document that reflects our collective vision for North Carolina, the budget should be the result of a healthy and public debate about the choices that are made.
The Senate budget would spend $20.1 billion, which is 1.7 percent less than the House budget, 4.4 percent less than the Governor’s proposal, and 12.5 percent below pre-recession levels. As in the House budget, the Senate would not raise revenue or address the problems with our revenue system, and instead continues to rely on a relatively small amount of one-time money – an amount far inadequate to make the investments necessary to educate all our state’s children and keep our communities safe and healthy as they grow and change.
Failure to begin the process of rebuilding our collective investment in public structures immediately will further delay and weaken North Carolina’s recovery. Under this budget, there will still be fewer slots for children in NC Pre-K, a continued shortfall in Medicaid, fewer dollars to provide public transit in our urban communities, and further reductions to environmental protections and infrastructure next year. Moreover, the Senate has chosen not to address the loss of temporary federal dollars that are currently supporting nearly 5,000 classroom personnel.
The approach taken by the Senate budget falls far short of a vision of North Carolina that will keep our state competitive and support a high quality of life for all North Carolinians.