The N&O here appears to begrudgingly approve of the efforts in SB 13. The bill, among other things, would divert Golden LEAF’s share of this year’s annual tobacco settlement money to the General Fund to help balance the state’s budget.
The N&O article, however, warns against dissolving the organization and making its roughly $500 million endowment available for General Fund expenditures.
As tempting as it might be, however, legislators should resist the far more drastic step of gobbling up the entire endowment. The foundation serves an entirely worthwhile purpose, providing economic aid in parts of the state where joblessness is high and incomes are low. So long as the endowment remains intact, that aid can continue over the long term. To wipe it out as a partial solution to a one-shot problem would be inexcusably shortsighted.
I’ve written extensively in the past on why Golden LEAF should be dissolved. The organization is highly redundantto the efforts of several state agencies. For instance, Golden LEAF helps fund water and wastewater projects – an area that receives funding from 11 other federal, state and non-profit entities.