State policymakers in the General Assembly should be taking the lead in planning for the long-term rebuilding effort in Eastern NC that will be needed after $2.8 billion in immediate damage and a calculated unmet need of $930 million.
The federal administration pledged just $6.1 million in additional support to address specific housing needs at the start of our state budget process—or less than 1 percent of the documented unmet need for rebuilding the region.
Even after the news broke of the federal failure to step up for Eastern NC, Senate and House leaders put just $150 million in the effort to rebuild Eastern NC. Those dollars were allocated just for the first year of the two-year budget.
Clearly the state must make a bigger commitment to rebuilding the region, not just to address damages and unmet needs but to achieve greater resiliency and a stronger economy in the region for the long-term. This will benefit us all.
But it will require a commitment now to fund rebuilding that will take place over years. Failing to meet the unmet needs request to the federal government would mean families remain without stable and affordable housing, infrastructure and environmental remediation would not be completed, and small businesses and farms aren’t operating and employing local residents. Failing to fund these immediate needs makes it more difficult to move toward full employment and resiliency in the long-term.
Some suggest that no more money should be committed until the initial $200 million allocated in December is completely spent. There are many problems with this argument. Read more