While Republicans take an extended summer vacation instead of working on the budget, North Carolinians are suffering

While Republicans take an extended summer vacation instead of working on the budget, North Carolinians are suffering

North Carolina’s Republican legislators decided to take an extra week of vacation instead of doing their job in Raleigh and getting a budget sorted out – and people are suffering because of it.

The budget was supposed to be finished and agreed to by July 1, which was the beginning of the new fiscal year. Today is July 21 and Republicans aren’t even at the legislature. There is currently no budget agreement between the two chambers and it will likely be weeks before anything arrives at Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk.

House Speaker Tim Moore said that a vote on the budget has been scheduled for Aug. 7 and there will likely be no votes on anything in the legislature until at least that date, WGHP reported.

It may not be obvious to a lot of people just what impact not having a budget can have on people’s everyday lives. Here are just some ways the NCGOP’s inaction is affecting North Carolinians:

The delay has stalled action on raises for educators, making it extremely difficult for school districts to fill hundreds or even thousands of vacancies before the start of the new school year. If you don’t know how much you can pay someone then how can you hire anyone?

The same issue is impacting state employees – there has been massive turnover at state offices and there are now mounting vacancies. According to WBTV, the State Employees Association of North Carolina has called for a 10% raise due to the significant amount of turnover.

Republican inaction is also impacting more than 600,000 North Carolinians’ health coverage. While it’s great that the legislature was able to finally agree to pass Medicaid Expansion – after more than a decade of work by Democrats – they decided to tie it to the passage of the state budget. That means more than 9,000 residents will lose their Medicaid coverage this month and 600,000 will remain without coverage entirely.

“Making Medicaid Expansion contingent on passing the budget was and is unnecessary, and now the failure of Republican legislators to pass the budget is ripping health care away from thousands of real people and costing our state and our hospitals millions of dollars,” Cooper stated in a press release earlier this month.

Patrick Zarcone

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