“Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.” – Joe Biden
The North Carolina state budget is under review in the NC General Assembly, and this quote could not be more timely.
After the North Carolina Senate passed a budget in less than 72 hours with no public scrutiny and limited debate (and at 3am, nonetheless!), it currently sits with the House. Word on the street is that there will be a vote early this week (Tuesday or Wednesday), so we want to make sure you have the information you need to contact your reps.
Governor Cooper’s Budget vs NC Senate Budget
According to Rep Pricey Harrison (D), the House is cleaning up “the Senate’s mess, again”. Historically, the Senate tends to propose a more extreme budget and the House moderates it. Governor Cooper has also proposed his own budget that outlines some very clear priorities in education and infrastructure expansion.
While the House continues to debate the budget in committee, we wanted to give you a breakdown of Governor Cooper’s budget vs the Senate budget:
(PDF link for easier reading:Gov Budget v Senate Budget_Memo (1))
These are the more high profile budget items, but there are a dozen other smaller, yet no less significant items, that have the potential to make significant changes to the systems and services that reach North Carolina communities and families. NC Policy Watch compiled this list:
- Cuts 133,000 North Carolinians from food assistance (Section 11C.11, Page 113)
- Mandates that judges not waive fees for indigent defendants until all affected state agencies approve (Section 18B.6., Page 293)
- Repeals certificate of need provisions for health care providers and hospitals that seek to ensure rural communities maintain access to care (Section 11F.5.(b), Page 145 of Senate Bill 257)
- Prohibits the allocation of state funds to any provider that performs abortions (except those receiving payments through the State Health Plan or Medicaid) (Section 11E.4, page 132)
- Mandates at least quarterly monitoring of North Carolinians receiving Medicaid to determine eligibility (Section 11H.20.(a), page 168)
- Eliminates ability of the courts to use emergency recall judges (Section 18B.7.(a), page 294)
- Regionalizes the delivery of Department of Social Services with benchmarks only for child protective services (Section 11C.12.(a), page 114)
- Eliminates retiree medical coverage for new hires, including teachers, State employees and members of the Consolidated Judicial Retirement system (Section 35.21.(a), page 335)
- Caps the amount of Workforce Housing Loan Program money that can be spent in each county per year, significantly limiting distribution of funds to counties with the most need (Section 28.1, Page 303)
- Prohibits local school districts from moving funds across allotments to meet needs (Section 7.12 to 14, page 24)
- Prohibits wind farms from locating in North Carolina (Section 24.2.(b), page 301)
- Establishes Personal Education Savings Accounts for children with disabilities for private school education costs in addition to having access to the state’s voucher program (Section 10A.4.(a), page 81)
What Can You Do?
Pick Up the Phone
This week we need you to make two phone calls – one to your NC House rep and one to the NC House committee chairs. Budget priorities are being debated in each of these committees, which is why we want you to add them to your call sheet.
Contact list for House Chairs can be found here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1_noNR5A9gfHsBHpzAUW5QAemijsQFrsv4BKVe3DYJLc/edit#gid=0
This can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Pick one of two issues that are most important to you or that will impact your family the most. Those are the issues to discuss with the reps so they understand how real families are being impacted.
Which brings us to our last point. . .
Share Your Story
Stronger NC is collecting stories for the Democratic reps to use during their budget committee discussions. Personal stories of how cuts could affect you and your families will give them valuable collateral as they fight on our behalf.
You can find the survey here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeYtIztDdrXs5QB7pI_66qDZl7GfUG0fkd5I-ZkCanxMYouIA/viewform?c=0&w=1