NC Budget and Tax Center

Still waiting: Eastern NC needs a greater commitment to rebuild after Matthew

When it comes to helping North Carolinians recovery from the devastating flooding and damage following Hurricane Matthew, North Carolina leaders must commit to a significant investment that ensures communities are made whole and more resilient in the face of future natural disasters and economic downturns too.

After the December legislation that made the first investment of $200.9 million, communities waited for a more ambitious proposal that would move beyond emergency response to focus on rebuilding the region.

The Governor’s budget proposal includes more dollars for the region but remains modest in comparison to the need. The proposed budget dedicates $115 million to address needs in housing, local infrastructure, public assistance, and other recovery efforts.

Legislation will be needed that is comprehensive and reflective of the needs to ensure that Eastern North Carolina is rebuilt to greater resiliency.

Hurricane Matthew was not North Carolina’s first time dealing with major post-hurricane flooding. In 1999, Hurricane Floyd caused what is now considered to be lower levels of flooding and damage throughout the East. Governor Hunt and the General Assembly reacted by allocating $830 million state dollars to ensure a swift and speedy recovery. In 1999, $286 million, more than one-third of the entire effort, was pulled from the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

Yet today, in response to Matthew’s, the General Assembly has been unwilling to use the Rainy Day Fund to help struggling North Carolinians get back on their feet. The investments have been too modest to ensure the Eastern part of the state can thrive. Click To Tweet The total investment in rebuilding from Hurricane Matthew by state leaders doesn’t come close to addressing the estimated $1.5 billion in damages spread throughout the eastern part of the state and represents a fraction of what was invested after Hurricane Floyd.

Gov. Cooper recognizes that the allocations in his budget are just a start. The budget also places $300 million into the Rainy Day Fund to be used once the final “unmet need” is assessed.

The problem, however, is that far too many North Carolinians can no long wait for final assessments to be made. While federal and state dollars slowly trickle in, many people remain living in hotels and out of work. They need help now.

The Governor’s Budget’s plan for Hurricane Matthew Recovery:

 

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