When the Legislature finally wraps up this month, there will much discussion about winners and losers galore. Look for the John Locke Puppets to wring their hands and cry with disappointment that their so-called "Freedom Budget" was essentially ignored. And look for progressives to scratch their heads and wonder one more time . . . is this really the best we can do?
There are plenty of sad stories to underscore the disconnect between political pandering and the hard work of policy-making, but none emerge with such clear contrast as the way our legislature deals with the needs of children. According to a reliable tracking study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, North Carolina has slipped to 41st (ahead of nine other embarrasing southern states) in its performance against key indicators of child well-being and health. Fully 25% of North Carolina children under the age of 6 live in poverty.
So what critical issue does OUR state legislature choose to focus on when it comes to the well-being of children? I'll give you one hint: it's an egregious example of faith-based patriotic pandering that accomplishes absolutely nothing of substance.
Targator and Yankee Blue both call on us today to refocus our attention on the North Carolina State Legislature, with an eye toward finding truly progressive candidates who will help move our state and our economy forward. Unless we want a public school system where reciting the Lord's Prayer is a sufficient condition for graduation, we'd better get to work.
Thanks to NC Policy Watch for linking to the Kid's Count report.