‘Backwards’ budget irks NAACP

Published 8:22 am Tuesday, June 14, 2011

AHOSKIE – The Hertford County Chapter of the NAACP has joined state leaders in denouncing the pending North Carolina budget.

Carl White, President of the Hertford County Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said the local chapter agrees with the North Carolina State Conference that the budget is bad for the state.

“The Hertford County branch stands with the state conference in saying this budget is bad,” White said. “The whole thing is bad.”

White released a statement from the state conference.

“We are challenging the ultra-conservative extreme right wing Senate budget that cuts one billion for public education will cost over 13,000 jobs for educators and will undermine public education in North Carolina,” the statement read. “If the current Senate budget is passed, North Carolina will pass South Carolina and Mississippi and become 49th in the nation in per-student spending.”

White said he was particularly disturbed by the jobs cut within the state budget.

“It does nothing to focus on job creation,” he said. “It eliminates jobs and I can’t see how that helps with job creation.”

The state conference statement agrees.

“We are very concerned about the future of jobs in North Carolina,” it read. “Our current legislators were elected on promises that they would focus on job creation and getting North Carolinians back to work. Instead, they have focused on bills that send our state backwards rather than moving us forward.”

Jim Goodman, the CEO of Capital Broadcasting in Raleigh, and a former Republican, said the budget is not pro-business, according to the release. Goodman as quoted as saying, “I don’t want anyone in the House or the Senate to even act like this is pro-business, pro-economic development, pro-job creation. It’s not. This is the worst I’ve ever seen.”

The NAACP said there are few bills that would assist those seeking jobs.

“What we have seen are tax cuts favoring the rich and bills supporting business interests,” the statement insists. “We cannot wait to see if trickle down economics will work. We need movement on job creation across the state. We need job creation now.”

The state conference was also concerned about the loss of unemployment benefits because the Republicans refused to pass on the benefits despite the money coming from the federal government. Those benefits were received because of an Executive Order signed by Governor Bev Perdue.

White said the Hertford County branch of the NAACP was also alarmed at the efforts to “suppress voting.”

“We stand with the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP in the continuing battle for justice and equality for all North Carolinians,” he said. “We are alarmed by the number of harmful bills making their way through the Legislature. These bills will have a devastating impact across this state and in the community.

“I am very concerned about the multiple voter suppression bills being considered,” White added. “At a time when we should be encouraging civic engagement and mass participation in the voting process, the General Assembly has introduced several bills that would disenfranchise voters across the state.”

White said if passed, the bills would:

  • Ban Sunday or “Souls to the Polls” voting;
  • Require voters to show a government-issued photo ID at the polls;
  • Eliminate same day voter registration during the early voting period; and
  • Reduce early voting by a week.

“These bills do not only harm the minority and poor community, but all of North Carolina,” White said. “We ask Governor Perdue to veto any voter suppression bill that comes across her desk and for the House of Representatives to sustain her veto.

“We will not stand for a General Assembly that wants less people to vote and discourages some populations to vote,” he added.

The Hertford County NAACP also opposes cuts in higher education, K-12 public school funding and cuts to the criminal justice system.