The NC House met under cover of darkness in the wee hours of this morning to override Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of their disastrous, immoral budget.
It’s likely they didn’t want to wait for the light of day because today is a teacher lobbying day in Raleigh, and they didn’t have to courage to talk to these dedicated educators and then go slash their budgets. They wanted the deed to be done already. I’m sure Republican leaders wanted to be certain no one was swayed by pleas and real stories of need from teachers.
So, with the Senate poised to override the veto, it looks like this immoral budget will be what we have to live with for the next two years.
Republicans are saying their budget is the same as the one Gov. Perdue proposed, but it’s far worse, with deeper cuts to early childhood education, our about-to-be-devastated university and community college systems and to the social network. They’re cutting $60 million from the state’s mental health system, which is so bad already it’s under investigation by the US Justice Department.
There is no rationale for these kinds of cuts. We are not broke. The only thing I can think of is that our state legislators who voted for this thing have no compassion for their fellow human beings.
I mean, if we’re so broke, why does House Majority Leader Thom Tillis have the money to offer huge raises to his staff members? Tillis gave his legal counsel, Jason Kay, a $30,000 a year salary increase to $140,000, and a 25 percent raise of $30,000, to $150,000, to his chief of staff, Charles Thomas. Half the speaker’s staff got raises.
Tillis spoke in January of “shared sacrifice,” but I guess you only have to share in the sacrifice if you’re not Thom Tillis or one of his staff.
I’ve already e-mailed my state representative, Tim Moffitt, and told him I will remember his vote come Election Day. He has reponded with this:
“I’m sorry that you feel that way. The cuts to education amount to .05% difference compared to the Governor’s budget. That’s after an explosive growth of over 250% in the last 14 years with barely a move in the overall achievement levels of our children. Sadly, money is not the issue as it is in most things, it’s policy.”
He is wrong, of course. Early childhood education programs were starting to make a difference; they are the only way children in poverty can catch up to their wealthier peers.
And education is not the only part of this budget that is immoral. The budget shreds what was left of the social safety net, especially for people who have mental illnesses and others who depend on Medicaid. It cuts $60 million out of the budget for our state’s mental health system, which already is in such bad shape it’s being investigated by the US Justice Department. Please, if your representative voted for this budget, let him or her know how you feel, and let them know we’re coming for them in 2012.