Budget winners and losers | News Feature | Indy Week
Pin It

Budget winners and losers 

When Gov. Jim Hunt unveiled his budget two weeks ago, he was resolutely upbeat. "There's no question that this is a tough budget year and we had to make some tough decisions," he said, at a press conference in Raleigh. "But our economy is strong, and we have what we need to do the job."

The ongoing costs of hurricane relief, a drop in the state tax base and two expensive lawsuit settlements mean that job has to be done with $331.9 million less than lawmakers had expected. But by "redirecting" and proposing new borrowing, the governor still scrounged up $729 million in added spending for next year.

Hunt appeared unfazed by a $91 million shortfall in the current budget and a projected $450 million gap for next year. "This is a year to prioritize," he said. "If you can't do everything, you do the most important things."

So what are the priorities in the $13 billion spending plan Hunt sent to the General Assembly? Here are some highlights and "lowlights":

A one-time reduction of $49 million in Smart Start, to be followed by $67 million in 2001 to expand the early childhood program to all 100 counties. The largest portion of new spending: $281 million to bring teacher pay to the national average. No money, though, to help low-performing students or those with limited English skills.

No new money for capital improvements, and no funds for repair and renovations of state buildings. Also, no increase in last year's appropriation of $5.2 million in new funds for public transportation.

A mere $3.4 million in new funds for mental health--compared with the $15 million to $20 million health-care advocates say it will take to begin easing the crisis in the system.

Three percent raises for state employees--significantly less than the 11 percent hike the N.C. Employees Association is seeking. Lawmakers are now debating a 5 percent raise in exchange for lower state contributions to workers' pension plans.

A $13.65 million spending cut for the Department of Correction, including funds for food, electricity and employee physicals. Daily payments that inmates on work release must make will be upped by $1 to $15. That will save $325,000. (Guess every little bit helps.)

A scant $36 million left in the state's "rainy day" fund for unexpected emergencies. Anyone remember Hurricane Floyd? Before the hurricane, the rainy day fund was $616 million. Last year, $286 million went to hurricane relief; the rest helped pay settlements of a lawsuit over the state's intangibles tax.

More by Barbara Solow

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in News Feature



Twitter Activity

Comments

Hello viewer am here to share my testimony on how I finally join the Illuminati hood and
became rich …

by Akhimen Jackson on Many Latinos deported, not for felonies, but for minor offenses (News Feature)

Let's imagine these Icon prisoners that do have stimuli; being cuffed to the rear with handcuffs too tight,
summer heat …

by John Wong on What life is like in solitary confinement at North Carolina's Central Prison (News Feature)

Most Recent Comments

Hello viewer am here to share my testimony on how I finally join the Illuminati hood and
became rich …

by Akhimen Jackson on Many Latinos deported, not for felonies, but for minor offenses (News Feature)

Let's imagine these Icon prisoners that do have stimuli; being cuffed to the rear with handcuffs too tight,
summer heat …

by John Wong on What life is like in solitary confinement at North Carolina's Central Prison (News Feature)

Get real Rebekah. If you are here illegally you do not have the rights associated with legality. Certainly the inability …

by adnan pitrian on What rights do undocumented immigrants have when they become crime victims? (News Feature)

Aqua America Water is getting ready to be held responsible for their actions which are beyond the pale. This company …

by Quancidine Hinson on Why Aqua NC customers are furious about their service (News Feature)

Dude is a rich white man who could afford good representation. What about the truly innocent people who can't access …

by Jane Doh on After Fifteen Years, the Michael Peterson Case Concludes But Provides Little Closure (News Feature)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation