Be sure to check out N.C. Budget & Tax Center Director Alexandra Sirota’s excellent op-ed in this morning’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer. In an essay entitled “In budget fight, NC’s well-being is at stake,” Sirota makes clear that there was a lot more to Gov. Cooper’s budget veto (and that there’s a lot more at stake in the current debate) that Medicaid expansion.
As she points out:
“This budget fight is about health care and so many other missed opportunities to strengthen families and communities through things like quality child care for infants and toddlers, educational supports for children with disabilities, and connecting people to good jobs through a fully funded workforce development system, apprenticeships and affordable post-secondary education and job training. The legislative budget vetoed by the governor is unacceptable because it fails in numerous ways to advance the well-being of us all and instead chooses to solidify the gains in this national expansion for the few….
This budget fight is about whether North Carolina values the lives of every person and whether we are willing to invest together in recognition that the well-being of one of us is tied to the well-being of us all.
The path to opportunity is currently riddled with potholes and barricades for North Carolinians based on the money they have, the wealth of their parents, the color of their skin, or the county they live in. But those potholes can be smoothed over with the intentional use of smart public investments.
But smart public investments at the scale and with the precision and efficiency to achieve more equitable outcomes don’t happen without taxes. The governor’s offer to legislators to accept their spending proposal in large part but stop the tax cuts for big business is too modest, in fact, to reach the goals North Carolinians have for their own lives and their communities….
Leaders are needed who recognize that our fates are shared. Their success, as well as all of ours, will be measured by whether North Carolina has built a pathway free of obstacles that we can all walk toward greater prosperity.”
The bottom line: Medicaid expansion is vital to the wellbeing of of millions of North Carolinians and it is essential that it be a part of any final budget agreement. That said, it is but one of numerous intentional public solutions that GOP leaders failed to embrace in their proposed budget. Click here to read the entire editorial and here to read more about the shortcomings in the budget bill that Gov. Cooper rightfully vetoed.