Runaway spending comes home to roost

Published 10:56 am Thursday, March 19, 2009

In November, Bev Perdue made history in becoming North Carolina’s first female governor.

Now, four months later, the honeymoon is over.

In the face of historic budget deficits, Gov. Perdue, on Tuesday, presented her version of the state’s 2009-10 budget, one that she insists will begin to address closing a $3.4 billion shortfall in current year spending. She wants to start by cutting spending by $1.3 billion in each of the next two years.

While her proposed $21 billion budget is $400 million less than the current one, it remains 50 percent higher than what the state operated on just eight short years ago. That’s how far out of control our state budget has progressed in less than a decade.

To overcome those poor political decisions of yesteryear, good, hard-working people will be losing their jobs. More than 1,400 state jobs would be eliminated, some of which are already void. This comes at a time when jobs, any jobs, are hard to come by.

The Governor also suggested to scale back funding for More at Four and Smart Start, two critical early childhood education programs. Both have made an impact on the education of Roanoke-Chowan area children.

Her proposal also closes the Gates County Correctional Center, as well as five other prisons statewide. Those inmates would be transferred to other facilities, ones already bursting at the seams.

She wants to raise the tax on cigarettes by $1 per pack, placing the state’s entire tobacco industry, one that pumps in $7 billion a year, in jeopardy.

While the General Assembly didn’t have a problem spending our money at a breakneck pace over the years, let’s hope they’ll slowly study the Governor’s proposal before taking any drastic steps.

– The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald