WNCN will post reactions to Gov. Pat McCrory's proposed budget:
Tom Ross, president of the University of North Carolina system
"The University appreciates the many fiscal challenges facing the state, including a stubbornly high unemployment rate. While parts of our economy appear to be rebounding, these are still difficult times for many North Carolinians, especially its families and students. And yet, the importance of education to our future remains clear and ever present.
"I am very concerned by the magnitude of the new cuts proposed for our campuses, particularly in light of the more than $400 million in permanent budget reductions we absorbed two years ago. I worry about the impact additional reductions will have on our ability to provide high-quality educational opportunities to our residents and to assist in North Carolina's economic recovery.
"The University of North Carolina remains committed to operating more efficiently, while continuing to do our part to ensure North Carolina's economic competitiveness and high quality of life. We recognize that we must do more with less and remain accountable to the taxpayers and state policymakers.
"Just last month, the UNC Board of Governors adopted a new strategic plan that will help guide further investment in our public University, and we are pleased that many elements of that plan are found in the Governor's budget proposal. The University's strategic plan calls for:
"We look forward to the next steps in the budget process and will work in partnership with the legislative leadership to identify targeted investments in the University that enlarge and strengthen North Carolina's talent pool and improve the state's competitive position."
Phil Berger, President Pro Tempore, N.C. Senate
"Gov. McCrory's refreshing new leadership and hard work has produced a balanced budget proposal that exercises fiscal discipline and keeps state government spending within its means. His emphasis on paying off our debts and repairing our critical infrastructure reflects a vision and commitment to the long-term fiscal health of our state. We look forward to reviewing the governor's plan in greater detail, and feel confident we will share common ground on many important priorities."
"The Senate Appropriations Committee will begin the process of reviewing the governor's proposal on Thursday."
Randy Voller, chair, North Carolina Democratic Party
"What we're seeing with this budget is the Republican Party's continued commitment to austerity policies for North Carolina and for our nation. This is a status-quo budget that continues to tax the poor to feed the rich.
"When push comes to shove, will the Governor be able to stand up to this radical, reactionary legislature or will he continue to serve as their rubber stamp—as he has when it comes to slashing unemployment benefits, rejecting health care expansion and increasing taxes on our middle and low-income hardworking families?"
Gerrick Brenner, Executive Director, Progress North Carolina
"Gov. McCrory's budget is full of marginal changes and small ideas. It does not take the bold actions North Carolina needs to create jobs and reduce our lingering unemployment problem. Nor does the budget fix the competitive imbalance North Carolina faces when it comes to education funding and teacher pay.
"Instead of tackling the real and complex problems facing North Carolinians today, Gov. McCrory chose to reheat that pesky office closet fire and drive us back to the DMV ... again.
"If this is the best Gov. McCrory can do in a document meant to lay out his vision for state government, we all we be waiting a very long time for real, meaningful solutions on the economy, jobs and education."
Statement from the N.C. Association of County Commissioners
Gov. Pat McCory's 2013-14 budget proposal released Wednesday kept county school construction lottery funding at the recessionary amount of $100 million, despite an improving state revenue outlook. Increased and reallocated lottery funds are directed instead at school technology and pre-k slots.
The Governor's budget proposal appropriates to counties slightly more than half of the lottery funds for school capital needs that counties are statutorily due, and permanently redirects the county share of the corporate income tax (ADM Fund) to the state's general fund.
Counties are supposed to receive 40 percent of lottery proceeds each year for school construction needs, approximately $180 million for 2013-14. Gov. McCrory's budget appropriates to counties 22.2 percent ($100 million)—roughly the same percentage of net revenue lottery dollars allocated during the state's budget crisis. Over the past four years, the state has shifted nearly $300 million of county lottery proceeds to other educational uses while also diverting the county share of the corporate income tax that is dedicated to school construction needs (see chart). As a result, counties have lost nearly half a billion dollars in state support for public school construction in the past four years, all while the state's school population continues to grow faster than most of the rest of the nation.
"The revenues from the education lottery, which now represent the only ongoing state support for public school construction, are helping counties throughout the state keep pace with increased enrollment, either by building new schools or expanding and renovating existing facilities," said NCACC Executive Director David F. Thompson. "I am especially concerned that 64 counties have pledged some or all of their lottery proceeds for existing school debt service. When the lottery was created, legislators encouraged counties to dedicate their lottery proceeds for debt service to accommodate the state's rapidly growing school population and to begin addressing the backlog of school capital needs for our children.
"'This will mark the fourth consecutive year that the county share of lottery proceeds has been reduced significantly, and it will be the fifth straight year that counties have received none of the funds from the corporate income tax."