In light of a budget deficit of more than $2 billion, both the General Assembly and Governor Perdue recognized a need to reduce and reorganize state government. One action supported by both sides is the reduction and consolidation of many of the state’s boards, committees and commissions, a step championed by Perdue as a means of streamlining government and aiding the budget.
Indeed, in January of this year Gov. Perdue directed the state legislature to examine 345 such committees and commissions, with the intent to “consolidate and eliminate wherever possible.”
Yet, only a few months after this directive, legislators have introduced a bill to create yet another commission.
House Bill 758, “An Act to Establish the Arts Education Commission” sponsored by Becky Carney (D- Mecklenburg), Rick Glazier (D- Cumberland), Alma Adams (D- Guilford) and Linda Johnson (R- Cabarrus) represents mixed-up fiscal priorities and a lack of focus on what government programs are important in these times of fiscal stress.
The bill would create the Arts Education Commission with the express purpose of recommending fiscal and educational strategies for furthering arts education in North Carolina schools.
The commission members would receive subsistence and travel allowances during their time working, and a full time professional and clerical staff would be assigned to assist in their efforts. Additionally, the Commission is encouraged to meet at various locations around the state, both during and outside of General Assembly sessions, adding to the expenses.
While no figures are attached to the bill, these are funds that time and time again the General Assembly has pointed out it does not have, and cannot afford to spend.
HB 758 joins the list of Bad Bills of the Week for its lack of fiscal prioritization and its step backwards by expanding the government when it has already been decided that it should be minimized.