In case you missed it, be sure to check out today’s edition of the Fitzsimon File in which Chris explains what’s really at issue in the stalemated state budget negotiations. Most notable on the list: the remarkably regressive positions of Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger.
“Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger told WRAL-TV that any budget deal must not only include the Senate’s estimates of Medicaid costs but must also reduce the number of people who are covered by the program.
Berger said the Senate wanted ‘reductions in the welfare spending that is ongoing at the present time.’ Medicaid, the health care safety net for the most vulnerable people in North Carolina, is now welfare in Berger’s far-right view of the world.
The budget the Senate passed earlier this session would kick at least 5,200 aged, blind and disabled people off of Medicaid. More than 1,600 of them have Alzheimer’s or dementia and are in special care units, which to Berger must be a new fancy way of saying welfare.”
As Chris also notes, there is an easy way out of the mess:
“It is important to remember that all three of the budgets ignore an obvious way to raise revenue to pay for a teacher pay hike, simply cancel the next round of tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy scheduled to take effect January 1. The top one percent of North Carolina taxpayers received a $10,000 cut on average in last year’s tax package. They don’t need another one.”
That said, Berger’s stance is an extraordinary one that may well set a new standard for callous and cold-hearted behavior by a modern North Carolina politician in a position of real power. Click here to read the entire column.