Shrugging off the chants of teachers assembled outside the General Assembly building, the N.C. House on Tuesday gave tentative approval to a $19.3 billion state budget that sharply reduces education spending and eliminates thousands of jobs. Following Wednesday's vote, the bill moves to the Senate, where Republican leaders hope to make even deeper cuts and pass a more austere budget.
Given the size of North Carolina's revenue shortfall, citizens expect lawmakers to construct a budget that responsibly reduces the size of government while also protecting those areas most critical to the state's future. The House budget clearly values the first mandate more than the second, and Raleigh must strike a fairer balance between the two in order to serve the public.
It has been said that a budget should be seen as a statement of priorities more than a list of funding appropriations. How a government spends the people's money in a fiscal year should reflect citizens' expectation for public services as well as their aspirations for the future. Some investments made now will not reap dividends for years to come, but that does not diminish their importance.
For the complete article, please pick up a copy of The Daily Reflector. Current home delivery and electronic edition subscribers may log in to access this article at no charge. To become a subscriber, please click here or contact Customer Service at (252) 329-9505.