by Brenée Goforth
Media Manager & Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
On Tuesday, March 10, Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency for the state of North Carolina. At the time, there had been seven confirmed instances of the Coronavirus. As of the time of this writing, there are fourteen presumed cases in the state.
Declaring a state of emergency has made North Carolina eligible for at least $13.8 million in federal funding to deal with the outbreak; however, the Carteret County News-Times offered another way to financially aid the state during the outbreak: pass the budget.
In an editorial published Wednesday, the News-Times shares why North Carolina should pass the budget during this time:
The governor needs to focus on cushioning the state from the impending economic impacts resulting from declining investment and business activity during the COVID-19 epidemic.
The solution is simple – the governor needs only to remove his veto of the state budget and allow the state’s coffers to open up for needed community and educational services.
The story then brings up the reporting of Carolina Journal’s Julie Havlak to emphasize what the state is missing when it lingers without a new budget:
Julie Havlak reported in the John Locke Foundation’s Carolina Journal that professors in the state’s community colleges earn less than K-12 teachers in the state’s public schools. This pay inequity is creating concerns in the administration of the college system and is resulting in unfilled teaching positions.
…But the economic barriers posed by the governor’s veto don’t stop with salaries. There are hundreds of millions of dollars of capital funding for school construction that are frozen as well by the governor’s veto.
According to N.C. Senator Norman Sanderson (R), Minnesott Beach, because of the governor’s veto $52 million has been denied to his 2nd senatorial district alone. Among the funds bottled up for his three-county district are $36 million in capital funding for K-12 schools and $10.2 million for capital improvements for Carteret, Craven and Pamlico community colleges.
The editorial concludes:
The removal of the veto will go a long way in helping the state weather the financial storm resulting from the COVID-19 virus epidemic and in the process, position the state to take advantage of the economic rebound that will surely occur once the epidemic is past. This is not the time to play politics; the governor must release the state budget so action can begin immediately.