Friday, April 9, 2010

NC News: Fitzsimon Discusses the Budget-NC Policy Watch

The troubling budget dance begins

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

By Chris Fitzsimon

The public debate about the state budget began this week with talk of ridiculous deadlines and more devastating cuts and most troubling of all both were met with what seemed like weary resignation by many lawmakers and much of the advocacy community.

House Appropriations Chair Mickey Michaux told budget writers that not only is there no money available to replace last year's cuts, but lawmakers will have to address a shortfall of as much $1.2 billion when putting next year's spending plan together. And even that may be optimistic and counts on several hundred million dollars in federal Medicaid money that's not here yet.

Senate Budget Chair Linda Garrou announced that Governor Beverly Perdue would present her budget recommendations to lawmakers April 20, which may not give her budget staff enough time to incorporate the analysis of the April 15 revenue figures into her proposal. That may be the point and allow her to avoid dealing with more bad news about revenue collections.

Even more absurd was Garrou's announcement that the Senate planned to pass its budget by May 20th, just eight days after the General Assembly session convenes. That leaves almost no time for public meetings when the legislature returns, though public input hasn't exactly been a priority in the Senate budget process in recent years.

Read more at NC Policy Watch.

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