Friday, April 23, 2010

NC News: NC Policy Watch Article on the Budget

Perdue’s mixed bag of a budget

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

By Chris Fitzsimon

There were few surprises in the budget Governor Beverly Perdue released this week, no tax increases, a few important new jobs initiatives, more painful cuts to education and human services.

The budget is a reflection of the perceived political climate in which elected officials seem scared to even discuss new revenues, even if it means cutting dental services and eye care for people on Medicaid or asking schools to find more cuts on top on last year's reductions that resulted in teacher layoffs and larger classes.

Perdue also largely declined to take on sacred cows to avoid the cuts. She didn't mention ending the in-state tuition subsidy for out of state athletes or diverting some of the state's annual payment from the national tobacco settlement.

Despite that flawed and limiting framework, she deserves credit for creative thinking in how she allocated the money she wants to spend.

One notable example is her Back to Work Incentive Fund that would provide $1000 per job subsidy to small businesses that add jobs by hiring workers who have been unemployed for more than 60 days.

Perdue also makes some important investments in repairing the gaping holes in safety net like restoring $40 million that was cut from mental health services in the final hours of last session's budget negotiations.  That only gets the system back to less than zero, the underfunded state it was in before the cuts, but at least it's not going further backwards.

Perdue also allocates $14 million for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program that provides lifesaving medication for people infected with HIV who can't afford it.  The program stopped taking new applicants earlier this year and now has a waiting list of more than 300 people.

Read more at NC Policy Watch.

1 comment:

Madame Defarge said...

Perdue has re-funded NC Mental Health Services but moved mental health services more towards a case-management format. Case management = papework. Paperwork does NOT = face to face contact w/ mental health providers. Why, then, do we need more paperwork? The paperwork needs to be DIMINISHED not undergirded further by creating case management formatting of mental health care associated w/ Medicaid.

Additionally, when was the last time you tried to eat anything without any teeth in your head?

Or how much money was spent on the person who could not go to the dentist and got a brain abcess via their sinuses due to the infection in their mouth?

The defunding of dentistry, as indicated by Fitzsimmons, is ludicrous. And I'm a psychologist, not a dentist.

I have clients who have to get a special form signed by a physician (ONLY) in order to get some dentures. And I have seen people die in ICU's from brain abcesses because they could not get a tooth pulled. What a stupid expenditure of money and sad loss of life.

Marsha V. Hammond, PhD
NC Mental Health Reform blog: