The N.C. House passed its version of the state budget yesterday in a 72-47 vote. The $19.3 billion budget includes massive, historic cuts to education in a state that has long prided itself on having better schools and better university and community college systems than most other Southern states. In all, the budget will translate to lost jobs some estimates say as many as 30,000 in a state with an already high unemployment rate. House Speaker Thom Tillis raised some eyebrows around the state the other day as well as raising various critics hackles and blood pressure by boasting that North Carolina will lose only 7,000 jobs. As the Asheville Citizen-Times, not exactly known as a bastion of liberal journalism, put it, Only 7,000? That's still a pretty callous figure to be bragging about.
What we found the most galling was Rep. Nelson Dollar, a Wake County Republican, who called the GOPs budget a responsible, jobs budget. After Rep. Dollar finished his speech, he is reported to have driven himself back to his home in Upside-Down World.
One other thing: As NC Policy Watch notes, its been three weeks since GOP leaders threw 37,000 N.C. families under the bus by linking continued unemployment benefits to a budget-target bill they knew Gov. Perdue would not sign because of its call for excessive, harmful cuts. After Perdues veto of the package, the GOP majority could have created a stand-alone bill for the unemployment benefits. But they'd have to give a rat's ass about the unemployed in their own state to do so. They say their reason for not having produced a stand-alone bill (and they say it with a straight face) is that they just havent had enough time. On todays schedule for our time-pressed reps? A bill to make NASCAR the offical state sport, and a resolution celebrating Cinco De Mayo.
Newspapers are slamming the GOPs N.C. budget pretty hard. Here is a collection of editorials about the budget from the Greenville, Asheville and Charlotte dailies.