Budget proposal is worrisome

Published 1:33 am Thursday, May 23, 2013

Don’t think the state budget proposed by the North Carolina Senate really affects you?

Think again.

Earlier this month, the City of Washington was informed it had been awarded a $10,000 grant to help build a kayak/canoe launch at the Havens Gardens boat ramp. Well, under the Senate’s proposed budget, that funding would be taken away.

The Senate’s proposed budget resulted in an emergency meeting of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. The commission is facing a reduction of more than $9 million in state funds, which equates to 49 percent of its current budget.

As a result of the proposed Senate budget, Gordon Meyers, the commission’s executive director, has placed 120 projects on hold pending the result of negotiations over the proposed state budget.

It’s the Wildlife Resources Commission had planned to make improvements at the Mason’s Landing boat ramp that serves many Beaufort County and Pitt County residents. Mason’s Landing provides access to Tranter’s Creek, which is part of the Beaufort County-Pitt County line, Bear Creek and the Tar River, which becomes the Pamlico River farther downstream. The project could be affected by the proposed reduction in the commission’s funding.

We’re for the state spending as little money possible while continuing to provide the best services, programs and infrastructure to its residents. Gov. Pat McCrory’s proposed budget and the state Senate’s proposed budget seem to be making drastic cuts in funding or eliminating funding for those services, programs and infrastructure.

Is their fat in the state budget? Of course. We just don’t believe there’s as much fat in the budget as the Republicans want us to believe. With Republicans controlling both houses of the Legislature, there’s no doubt the final version of the state budget will look extremely similar to what’s been proposed. The Republicans contend that voters giving them control of the Legislature is a mandate from the voters for making massive reductions in some funding and elimination of other funding. Voters, be careful what you ask for because you may get it — and we mean get it.

The website democraticunderground.com takes an ominous view of the state Senate’s proposed budget: “It’s the perfect window through which to understand the Senate budget proposal. It is a mean-spirited, arrogant, and snarling partisan budget that not only falls woefully short of making vital investments in education and human services, but seems to make major funding decisions and policy changes out of spite, not careful consideration.
“The budget eliminates more than 5,000 jobs, including 4,000 teacher assistant positions in the second the third grades. Imagine the headlines if a private employer announced the closing a facility where 5,000 people worked.”

There’s some truth in those words.