Representative Larry G. Pittman
North Carolina General Assembly
House of Representatives
1010 Legislative Building
16 W. Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 27601-1096
Last time, I gave you an overview of the budget process and some things I helped get done or stopped from happening in the budget. Today, I want to talk to you some more about the budget and what is happening in Raleigh these days.
There is a lot of frustration around the Legislature about the fact that we are still in Raleigh, instead of having shut down the long session of the Legislature a month ago, as we would have preferred. The reason it is taking us so long to get out of here is, of course, the impasse with the Governor over the budget, which he is holding hostage to his ill-advised insistence on Medicaid expansion. Until we get enough Democrats to vote with us to override his veto of the budget, we are stuck here. If we fail to override the veto and just adjourn sine die and go home, the Governor would most likely call us right back into session the next week to try to break down our resistance to his demands; so there isn’t much point in that. We need Democrats to see the light and vote with us for the override.
CABARRUS & ROWAN COUNTY BENEFITS FROM THE BUDGET
District Court Judge
Assistant District Attorney
$17,220,503 School Construction Money
$12,614,170 Rowan Cabarrus Community College Construction Money
$17,608,410 Rowan-Salisbury Construction Money
One might ask, why should the Democrats vote with us on this matter?
It is really pretty simple. Throughout the budget, there is funding for very important projects in each district across the State, including districts represented by Democrats. I told you in my last newsletter about benefits for Cabarrus County that are being jeopardized by the Governor’s veto. Similar benefits for their districts are awaiting the approval of the budget by Democrats voting for the override.
For instance, human trafficking is a devastating blight on our society. The budget appropriates $477,000 to the Human Trafficking Commission, plus $1.5 million to the SBI for human trafficking investigations. Mecklenburg County is represented in all but one district by Democrats, and Mecklenburg County is plagued with one of the worst human trafficking problems in the State. This appropriation would benefit law enforcement there significantly.
The budget appropriates $6 million over two years to clear the rape kit backlog. This benefits districts all over the State whether represented by Republicans or Democrats.
The budget raises the standard deduction on income taxes to $21,000, which would complete a $15,000 increase since Republicans became the majority in the Legislature. Those represented by Democrats would benefit from this right along with those represented by Republicans.
There are appropriations in the budget for $1.5 billion for capital improvement projects for the public schools. This includes the following appropriations to some school districts mostly represented by Democrats.
Bertie County, one Democrat and one Republican, $11,234,254.
Chatham County, two Democrats, $12,337,946.
Cumberland County, five Democrats and one Republican, $28,886,745.
Durham County, six Democrats, $18,587,527.
Edgecombe County, two Democrats, $13,427,241.
Granville County, two democrats and one Republican, $14,143,141.
Guilford County, six Democrats and four Republicans, $28,758,346.
Halifax County, two democrats, $5,201,993.
Martin County, two Democrats, $11,558,269.
Mecklenburg County, sixteen Democrats and one Republican, $48,448,911.
Orange County, three Democrats, $10,324,498.
Wake County, fifteen Democrats and one Republican, $52,215,430.
Warren County, two Democrats, $10,668,056
There are also important things like much needed road projects in various counties, capital improvement projects for many of our community colleges across the State, to a total of $400 million, the movement of the State Department of Health and Human Services office from Raleigh to Granville County, which would be quite a boost to the economy in Democrat Rep. Terry Garrison’s district, and many more examples.
Clearly, if these Democrats really want to help the school systems they represent, it would behoove them to help us override the Governor’s veto of the budget to release these funds for that purpose.
All of this is being held up by Gov. Cooper’s unreasonable insistence on pushing for Medicaid expansion. He has nothing else to offer. This misguided idea, instead of helping low income citizens as he claims, would actually hurt them by making them stand in longer lines for medical assistance from dwindling numbers of doctors who are willing to take on more Medicaid patients in the first place. It is an attempt to control people by making them dependent on the government for their medical care, and it would bankrupt the State. Democrats who won’t join us in overriding this veto should stop and take a look at all that they are denying to their districts, which their districts won’t receive without the passage of this budget. Democrats should prioritize taking care of their constituents and their districts, rather than simply crumbling to pressure from the Governor and falling in line with his unreasonable prioritization of Medicaid expansion above the actual and realistic needs of our State.
Homelessness, Foster Care, & Dependency – Chairman
Appropriations – General Government
Appropriations – Information Technology
Education – Community Colleges
Education – Universities