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Civitas out-cuts Easley…by a nose?

For a good time call visit Civitas' proposals for how to trim the state budget this year.  Does anyone else think that it's funny that they only managed to find $245 million more in spending cuts than Governor Easley proposed? That's a whopping 1% of the state budget. 

And as usual there is no mention of the potential impact to anyone of their proposed cuts.  There's a $24 million cut to the NC Rural Center, an organization that is giving out millions to repair disastrous, old water and sewer systems in rural North Carolina.  There's a $2 million cut to the NC Public School Forum, a group that is running innovative after school programs in poor communities. Is it just me or wasn't there a time not long ago when conservatives loved the idea of outsourcing government functions to nonprofits?  Recall that there was supposed to be lower overhead costs and they were more in touch with community needs, ala Smart Start.

Folks should really check out their list of proposed cuts for themselves. Curiously, their list doesn't include some of the right's usual tactics such as "bring Medicaid in-line with regional norms" (code for kick really poor people off of their subsidized health insurance) or to "ensure appropriate private-public benefit ratio in setting university tuition" (because they say that since it increases future earning potential students should bear more of the cost).

It's also telling that this group is proposing about $1 billion in tax cuts which is hundreds of millions more than their proposed spending cuts.  Math lessons anyone?

Finally, it's just plain wrong to say that budget and legislative staff have additional cuts that they "recommend."  These are very professional staff people that do not "recommend" cuts – they merely give different reduction options to legislators when asked.  And, they don't pretend that cuts that may have an impact on the quantity or quality of state services will make no difference. It's called standards.

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