While the attention of most is fixated on the national drama surrounding the on again – off again national financial meltdown, the very real fiscal crisis our state is facing goes on. Civitas has written specifically and extensively on the NC budget I want to take a moment to bring the big picture down to a snapshot. The problem in NC is priorities and spending. Or more precisely it is the lack of "prioritization" and "overspending" that our legislature and state government has repeatedly shown.
You need no better illustration of the lack of priorities than two stories from last week – NC buying a new jet and lackluster funding for Probation & Parole. Apparently the legislature approved buying a new $9 million dollar jet for the state to use (to add to the other jet and planes the Department of Commerce owns). Plans to buy the jet were continuing even after the governor had asked state agencies to cut 3% from their budgets. It took the media asking about the jet for the state to pull the plug. Contrast $9 million for a new jet compared to just $2.5 million to fix the broken Probation & Parole system. Civitas wrote about fixing the broken Probation system in March and pointed out the millions in new debt going to build unneeded buildings yet nothing to invest in the technology to fix this problem.
Nothing points out the failure of the state government to set priorities and control spending better than the juxtaposition of these two stories.
Francis De Luca