Senate leaders repeatedly dismissed legitimate complaints from Democrats about the secret and rushed budget process during the floor debate Monday afternoon. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said the hundreds of pages of special provisions were no big deal, that 99 percent of them had been discussed for three months or more.
That’s ridiculous of course. Many of the provisions were never discussed in open committees where the public and rank and file senators–who each represent just as many people as Berger—had an opportunity to weigh in.
This morning’s News & Observer reports on one secret provision stuffed into the massive budget bill that would deal what the story accurately described as a “crippling blow” to a planned light-rail line from Durham to Chapel Hill.
The prospect of a light-rail cap never came up when House and Senate leaders developed their separate budgets this year. The Republican-led legislature previously had clamped broader restrictions on funding for transit projects.