THE GOP ELECTION BUDGET:
NO “PORK” FOR THE POOR
By Cash Michaels
With a projected tough 2018 midterm election ahead in November, Republican legislative leaders made sure that they greased the wheels for quick passage of their $23.9 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
But that’s not all they “greased.”
Whereas in Gov. Cooper’s proposed budget (which was not considered by the Republicans at all) he allotted $2.5 million “…to bolster support services at HBCUs,” proposed Medicaid expansion for an additional 670,000 citizens, and added $9 million in community mental health funding to help combat growing the opioid crisis, the GOP virtually ignored it all, opting, instead to award the home counties of House and Senate leadership with $35 million in “special” discretionary allotments of taxpayer dollars in grants and funding.
The result, with no amendments and no changes to the budget measure allowed because it was brought to the floor in a conference report, is $500,000 for Cleveland County (home of Republican House Speaker Tim Moore) to host the American Legion Baseball World Series, an annual event since 2011, but either sharp reductions or complete elimination of funding for needed social services for the vast majority of the state’s citizenry.
The Democrats were not having it.
“No Democratic input. No amendments allowed,” opined Rep. Amos L Quick III (D-District 58). This is no way to lead North Carolina.”
Rep. Quick also voted against the GOP budget because it cut $150,000 from NC A&T University.
“ You make sure you vote in November and encourage others to do the same to break this supermajority that allows [the Republicans] to thumb their nose at a fair, and democratic process,” added Rep. Quick, who is running for re-election this fall.
Outgoing veteran lawmaker Rep. H.M. “Mickey” Michaux, Jr. called what the Republicans were doing with the budget process “rape,” and he wasn’t sure whether he was in North Carolina, or “North Korea.”
Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue blasted his GOP colleagues for not raising teacher pay by another $600 million, school safety, water quality protections and workforce training.
Blue chided the Republicans for protecting tax cuts for the rich, instead of taking care of the most neediest and deserving North Carolinians.
“With Democrats currently a minority in both chambers, there’s nothing we can do to stop it,” Sen. Blue said in a statement. “But this serves as a reminder of how important the upcoming elections will be in North Carolina.”
Though he hasn’t indicated what he’ll do yet, Gov. Cooper is expected to veto the Republican budget.
The Republican supermajority is expected to override it if he does.