This guest column in the Chapel Hill News is an example of the ranting and class warfare that will likely ensue as the budget takes shape next year. It is written by a gentlemen identified as a writer living in Efland. The headline: State employees in shark-filled waters.

The state’s fiscal hole is nearing $4 billion, but do state employees think they will somehow be exempt from necessary efforts to streamline and, no doubt, end the astronomical spending spree state legislators have engaged in? A reminder — General Fund appropriations per person, adjusted for inflation, increased 79 percent from 1980 to 2010.

For those who want to engage in serious discussion of policies that will dig North Carolina out of the fiscal ditch, I suggest they start with this report. It will not be easy, and there will be real pain. But it must be done.