Commentary

Senator Ralph Hise: Too busy to file campaign finance reports, but not to cut kids off of food assistance

Senator Ralph Hise

There’s more “you can’t make this stuff up” news from the North Carolina General Assembly this week. As reported in this space Monday, lawmakers slipped a provision into the Senate budget (none of this stuff ever gets done or debated in public anymore) to slash SNAP food assistance benefits to as many as 133,000 North Carolinians — more than a third of whom are children.

The reasoning? Well, actually there isn’t any — any that make sense.

The apparent driving force behind the change, Senator Ralph Hise, told WRAL that senators didn’t like the fact that: a) some people were getting benefits automatically merely because they were poor enough to qualify for other programs (huh?), b) the rolls have been growing in recent years (welcome to the modern, haves-and-have-nots economy, Senator) and c) North Carolina’s eligibility standards were more generous than some other states (Heaven forbid).

Here’s the kicker, however: The change doesn’t save the state a dollar. The funding is all federal. This is from the WRAL story:

“DHHS Deputy Secretary Susan Perry-Manning explained that the program is funded by the federal government, not the state, so cutting it has no effect on the state budget.

‘It doesn’t save the state any money,’ Perry-Manning said. ‘These are federal dollars that are not capped.'”

In fact, by cutting off assistance to tens of thousands of people, the Senate would actually injure the state’s economy and, in particular, the hundreds of retailers who take SNAP benefits. In other words, the reason for cutting people off is that Senators are mean and just felt like it.

And here’s another remarkable kicker: Senator Hise, the man who’s so upset about some poor people getting food assistance and who has enough time on his hands to engineer a budget provision to cut off 133,000 people, is the same fellow under investigation for failure to file campaign finance reports and, allegedly, misusing campaign funds for his own benefit. He is also the same person who takes home a nice public salary in the position of “Coordinator of Special Projects” at Mayland Community College in Spruce Pine.

The bottom line: If Senator Hise had simply complied with state election laws (thereby abrogating the need for a costly investigation), he’d almost certainly save the state more money than he will by cutting off food aid to struggling families. Maybe he could get approval from the folks at Mayland Community College to add it to his list of special projects.

One final note: In commenting on a previous post on the subject of Sen. Hise’s troubles with the Board of Elections, a commenter suggested that Hise’s mother is ill and that that is the reason for his failure to file his reports. If this is true about Hise’s mother, this is very sad news and we wish her well. Such a situation does not, however, abrogate the senator’s duty to comply with the law or serve the people of North Carolina in the Senate with some modicum of human decency and common sense.

2 Comments


  1. Greg Hamby

    May 17, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    The Current GOP majority in Raleigh are bordering on disgreacful in so many areas….and have been proven to be Unconstitutional in some of their proposals..

  2. Jenny Favret

    May 17, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    Heartless action. There are no words to express my dismay over this act of cruelty.

Check Also

BREAKING: New analysis shows GOP tax plan would be “devastating” to North Carolina nonprofits

This is usually the time of year during ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

The controversy over “Silent Sam,” the Confederate monument on UNC’s Chapel Hill campus, has been ra [...]

North Carolina tries to mine its swine and deal with a poop problem that keeps piling up A blanket o [...]

This story is part of "Peak Pig," an examination of the hog industry co-published with Env [...]

Few issues in the North Carolina’s contentious policy wars have been more consistently front and cen [...]

Five years ago, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a jaw-dropping civil rights lawsuit again [...]

Will Burr and Tillis really vote for this? For much of the 20th Century, one of the labels that Amer [...]

President Trump and Congressional Republicans aim to rebrand enormous tax cuts for the wealthiest ho [...]

20—number of years since a bipartisan coalition in Congress passed the Children’s Health Insurance P [...]

Spotlight on Journalism

We invite you to join a special celebration of investigative journalism! The evening will feature Mike Rezendes, a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe Spotlight Team known for their coverage of the cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

Tickets available NOW!

Spotlight On Journalism

This event will benefit NC Policy Watch, a project of the North Carolina Justice Center. Sponsorship opportunities available now!

Featured | Special Projects

NC Budget 2017
The maze of the NC Budget is complex. Follow the stories to follow the money.
Read more


NC Redistricting 2017
New map, new districts, new lawmakers. Here’s what you need to know about gerrymandering in NC.
Read more