State lawmakers recommit to failed austerity despite ongoing pandemic, documented hardship

Last week, Republican House and Senate leaders in the NC General Assembly announced their proposed total spending figure for the state budget, which consists of spending $25.7 billion in 2021-2022 and $26.7 billion in 2022-2023.

Details of the budget have not been finalized, yet the state legislature has already contemplated cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy — a priority that the GOP has pushed for years; highlighting their favoritism towards the wealthy over the critical needs of North Carolinians across the state

  • According to The Progressive Pulse, the proposed spending cap, “will continue the now decade-long trend of austerity budgeting in which state infrastructure, services, and publicly supported programs cannot adequately respond to long-term challenges or meet the needs of a growing state..the proposed budget amount would leave North Carolina roughly $7 billion short of the state’s historical average”.
  • The proposed amount also fails to include the $7 billion in unreserved funds that are available to meet current needs around the state.
  • This comes as Gov. Cooper proposed a budget in March that addresses many of the critical needs North Carolinians are facing. The proposed budget recommends investments in affordable child care, public education, job growth, our state’s infrastructure, and more.

Long-standing unmet needs such as increasing teacher pay, expanding affordable housing, adequate living wages and fulfilling the state’s constitutional obligation to provide every student with an equal opportunity for a sound, basic education are nothing new. 

Just as the stubborn refusal of Republican legislative leaders to prioritize the health and well-being of every North Carolinian repeatedly shows up time and again through the decisions and laws proposed by both chambers

For too long, the NCGA has let North Carolinians suffer while failing to allocate funding to help those in need. With billions of federal funding and unreserved cash in hand, state lawmakers have the opportunity to stand with Gov. Roy Cooper in putting our state first and making long-term investments that strengthens our economy, supports families, helps our communities recover and supplies the necessary resources to sustain well-being for all.

Bottom Line: 

For years, the NCGA has let North Carolinians suffer while failing to adequately allocate funding to help those in need. As the budget gets finalized and negotiations begin with Gov. Cooper in the coming weeks, it’s time our lawmakers agree on a budget that upholds our interests and makes meaningful investments to our state’s recovery.

Alanna Joyner

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