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Just in from the Budget and Tax Center Center

RALEIGH (March 27, 2013) — Critical federal funding for North Carolina’s schools, health care, clean water, law enforcement, and other key services would be slashed under the federal budget proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last week, according to a new report released today by the non-partisan organization Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

“Chairman Ryan’s budget would place the burden of deficit reduction squarely on the backs of North Carolina’s low-income and middle class families while providing a windfall in tax cuts to corporations and the wealthiest individuals,” said Allan Freyer of the Budget & Tax Center, a project of the North Carolina Justice Center. “Another round of deep funding cuts to our schools, public safety, and health would harm our families, communities and economy.”

Congressman Ryan’s budget would cut the part of the federal budget that supports Read More

Phil BergerAs you may recall, a spokesperson for Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger had the following to say about a recent effort by folks at the North Carolina Justice Center (NC Policy Watch’s parent organization) to call attention to the impacts of the federal budget sequester here in North Carolina:

“We are not engaging in the left-wing N.C. Justice Center’s daily publicity stunts,” said Amy Auth, spokeswoman for state Senate leader Phil Berger, in an email. “They should voice their concerns with federal legislation to our federal legislators.”

Today, comes news from the Department of Public Instruction that North Carolina schools will suffer a $63 million cuts as the result of the sequester — most of it in programs that serve vulnerable children.

Still think all this sequester business is a publicity stunt that doesn’t involve you Senator?

 

In the latest development in our nation’s interminable federal budget wars, both the House and Senate passed very different plans for the 2014 budget out of committee this week, and both plans now await floor action next Wednesday. The first plan, proposed by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, represents a balanced approach that includes new revenues, while the second plan—proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan—represents an irresponsible approach that gives tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans while enacting deep cuts to those public investments that help children, seniors, and the most vulnerable.

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Last week, Congress failed to repeal the $85.3 billion in automatic, across the board spending cuts known as “sequestration,” and as a result, these spending cuts have begun to take effect.   Sequestration is the wrong way to go about reducing our nation’s budget deficit—it will hurt North Carolina’s economy, weaken the fiscal position of the state budget, and damage key public investments like K-12 education, job training, and food safety. 

And despite inflicting all this damage, sequestration targets the portion of the federal budget that contributes the least to national deficits, making it the wrong tool for achieving meaningful deficit reduction. Instead, Congress should take a balanced approach to deficit reduction that replaces the sequestration cuts for 2013 with equal amounts of new revenue and smart spending cuts.

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Two excellent (and brief!) new documents from the wonks at the NC Budget and Tax Center detail the specific impacts of the sequestration cuts that are hitting today and a responsible path out of the mess:

Click here to read “Just the facts: Fixing sequestration requires balance approach, new revenues.”

Click here to read “Taking a balanced approach: Four revenue options for fixing sequestration.”

Of course, both documents presuppose that lawmakers would want to use logic in solving the problem – something that seems increasingly unlikely given the central role of people like this in deciding what happens.