RALEIGH (June 15, 2011) – Just past midnight, while the majority of North Carolinians slept, the state House overrode the Governor's veto of the state budget with no debate.
While the Senate is yet to act, it’s almost certain that this profoundly damaging state budget will become law.
Many news stories on this midnight moment will likely focus on the politics of this vote. And indeed, the cowardly fact that the House budget vote occurred in the dead of night with nearly no debate should be noted.
So should the fact that recent polling demonstrates that only 23 percent of the public supports the budget. But as advocates for children, older adults, working families, the environment, and health and safety, it is our primary responsibility to articulate the immediate and sustained consequences of the new state budget.
-Thousands of North Carolinians will immediately, if they haven’t already, lose their jobs and their livelihoods. The NC Budget & Tax Center conservatively estimates that 30,000 jobs will be lost over the next two years as a result of this budget;
-Adequate, affordable, and quality healthcare will no longer be easily accessible to children and adults. Medicaid’s reach will be severely limited by this budget;
-Our most precious asset—our future generation—will no longer have access to a nationally-recognized system of early care and education that has proven over and over again to reduce the achievement gap, grow our local economies, and pave the way towards a highly-skilled, competitive workforce;
-Our trees, clean air and water will no longer be a given because environmental regulation will be undermined and land conservation efforts will largely cease;
-Our classrooms, from kindergarten to community colleges to our universities, will lose thousands of educators along with the support and supplies that allow them to educate our children.
These are the cuts that will ripple through our communities immediately. But much of the damage to come is unknown. The local impact and multiplier effect of such a deep retreat from our most valuable public structures will affect our state for years, if not decades to come.
For the people of North Carolina—families, workers, and businesses—tonight is a sad night. It is sad that the most obvious solution to our state’s fiscal challenges was ignored. It is sad that thousands of hard-working North Carolinians will lose their jobs. It is sad that institutions that we’ve spent decades building will be wiped out in a few short line items. And it is perhaps most sad that our lawmakers did not trust the people enough to hear their voices, from the time the budget debate started until this shameful midnight act.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Together NC coordinators Louisa Warren, (919) 801-0465, firstname.lastname@example.org or Rob Thompson, (919) 649-2449; Jeff Shaw, Director of Communications, NC Justice Center, email@example.com, 503.551.3615.