• 63°

N.C. Senate budget more than numbers

Legislative budgets are about more than spending and revenue.                                         
They’re about competing visions for the future — and clashing judgments on the  past.
Nowhere is that more obvious than in the N.C. Senate’s proposals for cutting school funding and reshaping the education landscape. Republican leaders don’t simply see this as a struggle to balance the budget. It’s a mission to reform a “broken educational system,” to quote Sen. Andrew Brock, and make other structural changes.
 The Senate proposals would virtually abolish city school systems and force consolidation by cutting off state funding for Kannapolis, Mooresville and similar systems around the state. This may save money, but how does it gibe with the conservative mantra of downsizing bureacracy, with more local control?
Republicans would hire new teachers in the early grades to slightly decrease class sizes — a commendable idea, on its own — but do so at the loss of funding teacher assistants. They would dissolve the N.C. Partnership for Children, which administers the state’s Smart Start early childhood initiative, and reduce program funding by 20 percent. (An article elsewhere on this page discusses the potential implications for Rowan County.)
Performance-based pay for teachers and more charter schools are also part of the reform blueprint.
Meanwhile, on the revenue side, House and Senate leaders are adamant there’ll be no extension of a penny sales tax set to expire next month, keeping a campaign vow they made to voters. The lower-taxation vision also includes tax reductions for individuals and many small businesses. Supply-siders believe it will help spur spending, which ultimately means more government revenue. But that may be a big gamble in  an economy where the jobless rate remains high and both individuals and businesses remain reluctant to spend. If revenues don’t rise, do you cut taxes yet more?
 Elections have consequences, and the consequences of November are about to fully play out in the General Assembly. Inevitably, part of the budgeting process will involve compromises as Republicans seek to gain more Democratic support as well as devise a final plan that can avoid the governor’s veto — a decision, Gov. Beverly Perdue has said, that will rest heavily on how well the budge “protects our schools, community colleges and universities.”
Protecting such institutions shouldn’t mean protecting the status quo, obviously. It’s a given these budget cuts will be painful, and no one should expect otherwise. But as legislative GOP leaders move forward with the vision of a “right-sized” government, they need to make certain their remedies are truly crafted to reform supposedly broken systems, not crush them underfoot.

Comments

Comments closed.

Business

‘It’s our big time’: Salisbury Farmers Market reopens Saturday

Education

Schools capital funding still frozen as RSS sends local budget to county

Business

Shields, Cheerwine Festival receive N.C. Main Street Awards

Kannapolis

Duke University launches kidney disease study in Kannapolis for people of African descent

Education

Horizons Unlimited will hold in-person summer camps

Education

Education briefs: Catawba planning for more in-person activities, free summer school tuition

Coronavirus

County’s full COVID-19 vaccinations top 22,600

High School

High school golf: With Merrell, Mustangs back on top

Local

Spencer investigating rat problem on South Iredell Street

News

Livingstone, Mission House Church to host national ‘Black Voters Matter’ listening session

Education

Shoutouts

Business

Groundbreaking on Pennant Square signals next phase in downtown Kannapolis revitalization

Nation/World

J&J vaccine to remain in limbo while officials seek evidence

Nation/World

Prosecutors: No charges for officer in Capitol riot shooting

Nation/World

Biden to pull US troops from Afghanistan, end ‘forever war’

Nation/World

Former Minnesota cop charged in shooting of Black motorist

Crime

Blotter: April 14

Elections

Former North Carolina Gov. McCrory enters US Senate race

Crime

Salisbury woman arrested in Myrtle Beach for abducting child

Health

County updates health director job description, will advertise for position

High School

High school tennis: East beats Carson, still hopes to share NPC title

Elections

Board of Elections to purchase upgraded voting equipment using federal grant

Kannapolis

Kyle Seager drives in winning run in first game as Mariners split doubleheader with Orioles

Local

City exhausts this year’s funds for Innes Street Improvements, Municipal Services District grant programs