Today, the Senate passed a budget that will not begin the necessary process of investing in the education of our children, well-being of our families and safety of our communities. The failure to include revenue when assembling their budget was a disappointment for all North Carolinians who want lawmakers to recommit to funding vital public structures.
The state’s budget is the means by which lawmakers can support our state’s recovery and broaden economic opportunity for all North Carolinians. It is disappointing that lawmakers have ignored the impacts in communities across the state of their decisions last year. Instead, the Senate once again passed a budget that will result in more teachers lost from the classroom, reduced health care services for our state’s most vulnerable children, elderly, and people with disabilities, and delayed though much-needed maintenance and repair of North Carolina’s aging roads and bridges – structures that are vital both to our state’s economy as well as our personal safety and the safety of our families.
These are the investments that are urgently needed to truly rebuild the economy in a way that serves all North Carolinians, but the Senate budget passed today would not accomplish those goals. Instead, the Senate budget would continue spending on K-12 education as a share of the state’s economy at a low not seen since the Nixon administration, and by failing to “backfill” expiring federal recovery money it would effectively cut public education budgets in districts across the state. It would address only the current-year shortfall in funding for Medicaid, but not the coming year’s shortfall. Even more importantly, it does not to address the growing structural imbalance between state revenues and demand for state investments.
North Carolina must do better in order to see real improvement in our economy and our communities.