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Report: Ryan budget would harm NC’s schools, public health and safety

Just in from the Budget and Tax Center Center

RALEIGH (March 27, 2013) — Critical federal funding for North Carolina’s schools, health care, clean water, law enforcement, and other key services would be slashed under the federal budget proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last week, according to a new report released today by the non-partisan organization Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

“Chairman Ryan’s budget would place the burden of deficit reduction squarely on the backs of North Carolina’s low-income and middle class families while providing a windfall in tax cuts to corporations and the wealthiest individuals,” said Allan Freyer of the Budget & Tax Center, a project of the North Carolina Justice Center. “Another round of deep funding cuts to our schools, public safety, and health would harm our families, communities and economy.”

Congressman Ryan’s budget would cut the part of the federal budget that supports schools, public safety and a range of other state and local services by 18 percent, on top of sharp cuts already scheduled to hit these programs. North Carolina could lose an additional $580 million over the next decade from that area of the budget alone, known as “non-defense discretionary” spending, the report estimates.

The Ryan budget would significantly weaken North Carolina’s ability to provide important services such as:

  • Transportation: Funding for important transportation infrastructure including roads, bridges, airports, and public transit would be reduced by 23 percent over the next decade, compared to today’s levels.
  • Education: The budget would threaten funding for education including Head Start, funding for high-poverty schools, and special education.
  • Housing: Funding would likely be reduced for community development, and rental, heating and cooling assistance for low-income families and seniors.
  • Public Health: Programs that provide nutrition to newborns and expectant mothers, and support environmental protection and health care would likely face cuts.
  • Workforce Training: Funding for workforce assistance including job training, child care, and unemployment insurance administration would likely face reductions.
  • Public Safety: Funding to hire police officers, train them, and provide them with bullet proof vests and other equipment would all likely face funding cuts.

States and localities would face a much greater reduction in funding under the Ryan budget than under automatic cuts known as “sequestration,” likely bringing funding for state and local services far below historical levels. By 2023, the Ryan budget would reduce discretionary state and local grants to an estimated 0.7 percent of GDP—half of the average of the last 35 years.

The Ryan budget also would cut federal funding for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program by nearly a third by 2023, which would almost certainly force North Carolina to sharply scale back or eliminate Medicaid coverage for many low-income families, seniors, and people with disabilities by restructuring and significantly reducing funding for the program.

The cuts would be on top of deep federal funding cuts that states and localities already face as a result of previous deficit reduction measures. Such cuts would come at a terrible time for North Carolina, which is still struggling to recover from the recent recession and the deep spending cuts to K-12 and higher education, health care, and public safety the state made as a result.

“Reducing the federal budget deficit is an important goal, but working families cannot continue to carry the load by themselves,” Freyer said. “A balanced approach that includes revenues, like the plan offered by Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, is essential to ensure that we reduce our country’s deficit without harming our economy or future growth.”

The Center’s full report can be found by clicking here.

One Comment

  1. Doug

    March 28, 2013 at 9:21 am

    All of the things you list are things the federal government should never have had their hands in anyway. The more things like this they cut the better so that we can have a more free state. If these are such critical items then it needs to be debated in our state government and deemed a priority.