A sad necessity

Published 11:10 am Thursday, March 26, 2009

By Staff
Yesterday we learned that Beaufort County government will lay off 13 workers on June 12. Another seven vacant positions are being eliminated.
We’re sorry for county staff who have been let go, but a sour economy and county financial woes necessitated the cuts.
County Manager Paul Spruill said the county has a long history of working to find new employment for laid-off workers, and we hope that program continues to succeed. If the economy perks up, perhaps some workers will regain their county jobs, though Spruill said the county faces a long, hard slog to recovery.
What really worries us, though, is the state Legislature raiding the lottery fund. Lottery funds are supposed to be used for schools and, under a funding agreement with the Beaufort County Board of Education, our county uses them to pay off school-construction debt.
If the fund is plundered, our county will have to lay off more workers to continue paying that debt, Spruill said. The last thing we need are more layoffs because state government couldn’t keep its word to taxpayers.
Gov. Beverly Perdue indicated in her budget that she wants her raid on the lottery fund she imposed earlier this year to happen only once. Now, it’s up to the state Legislature to honor that request.
Many of our commissioners seem to doubt the folks in Raleigh can keep their fingers out of the education-lottery pie. We hope they’re wrong and fear they’re right.
The education lottery, as its name implies, is supposed to be exclusively for education, and it needs to stay that way.