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‘Children’ fail to understand compromise

If you have a child that tends to be a bit on the rebellious side, your wish as a parent is that time and age are on your side. In other words, the majority of children will mature to the point where they no longer resist authority, control, or conventional wisdom.

Apparently, some of our “children” within state government never grew up.

Leading up to the June 30 deadline to have a state budget in place (and now far after that date), my email has been flooded with the back-and-forth debate on how the state planned to use the hard-earned dollars of its taxpayers.

As expected with a Democrat occupying the Governor’s Mansion and a GOP-controlled General Assembly, there is a wide disconnect on the budget numbers. And, for the first time in a while, the Republican majority in the NC House and Senate has dwindled to the point where they are no longer able to automatically override a potential veto of the budget….that is if the vote is along party lines.

Well, low and behold, that’s what we have. The GOP approved version of the budget was sent to Governor Roy Cooper to sign. Rather, he used his veto stamp and the Republicans in both chambers of the General Assembly failed to convince enough Democrats to join with them to override the veto.

Welcome to a schoolyard stalemate. Based on the accusations of both parties witnessed within the emails I receive, it appears our elected children are each holding their breath and pitching a temper tantrum until someone gets their way.

Meanwhile, all the good contained within the budget is at an impasse.

At the outset, Cooper was steadfast in his decision to veto the budget because it did not contain Medicaid expansion that he lobbied hard for to be included. That plan has its perks….the most notable of which is adding more than 625,000 low-income North Carolinians to the Medicaid rolls by 2022. Expansion also creates new jobs, but most of those are in the medical field with nearly 50 percent (and the majority of the proposed economic boost) coming in the state’s most populated counties.

The GOP countered with a report from the conservative leaning John Locke Foundation, which said, “to pay for the expansion, the North Carolina General Assembly would need to reduce provider payments, divert resources from other important parts of the budget such as education or transportation, or greatly increase taxes.”

That same report pointed out that the current Medicaid program in North Carolina covers over two million low-income individuals, to include children, and that, “legislators should leave the program for the intended population” rather than, in their words, “adding individuals…..the majority of whom are abled-bodied, working-age, childless adults.”

Salary increases for schoolteachers is another sticking point between Cooper and the GOP. The Governor championed an 8.5 percent pay hike while the budget passed by the GOP was less than half of that (an average increase of 3.8 percent).

Now, I don’t know about the rest of you out there, but I would flip head-over-heels if my boss walked in my office and told me I was getting a three percent raise. Anything above that and my boss would have to summon paramedics because I would be having a heart attack.

I’m not saying our hard-working teachers don’t deserve more, but can our state afford an 8.5 percent pay hike all at one time? Couldn’t that be a compromise reached for a four percent hike this year and four percent next year?

Apparently, when it comes to our elected “children” in Raleigh, compromise is a word they cannot comprehend.

Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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