budget cuts

The NC GOP's fake concern for the unborn

Apparently bankruptcy or minimal pre-natal care are some of the acceptable alternatives to abortion:

THE BUDGET PASSED BY THE NORTH CAROLINA SENATE includes a special provision changing the state’s Medicaid eligibility requirements for pregnant women. Under the Senate provision,
starting in 2014, pregnant women earning more than 133 percent of federal poverty level (about $15,282 for a single person) will no longer qualify for Medicaid. Currently, pregnant women earning up
to 185 percent of federal poverty level (about $21,256 for a single person) qualify for Medicaid. This change will impact thousands of women.

Sanctity of life my ass. The sheer hypocrisy of the Tarheel Taliban is mind-boggling. Try to force women seeking an abortion to look at an ultrasound, when they are the ones who should be forced to look at every fetus they want to cut from Medicaid funding. You know what? That's what we should do, start collecting pictures of unborn babies who fall into this category and putting them on signs and pamphlets. Kinda hard to argue with that.

You have the right to ask a computer for help

And hopefully that computer will be in a helpful mood:

PLS is a private, nonprofit organization under annual contract to provide inmates with meaningful access to the courts. That’s not an option for North Carolina. It’s a constitutional mandate, and for 30 years, PLS has satisfied it. Last week, the Senate abruptly canceled the state’s $2.89 million annual contract with PLS in favor of an unfunded mandate to provide inmates with digital legal libraries within five weeks. The proposal – a classic solution in search of a problem – will cost much more than PLS.

Once again, the NC GOP strives for achieving the least they can (or must) do for people. Navigating a legal library is difficult for attorneys and paralegals. Imagine how a group of people in which 4 out of 5 never graduated high school will fare. Make no mistake, this is not for economic or budgetary reasons, this is simply hard-heartedness. No finger should be lifted to help these people, even if they are being horribly abused:

Sequester Alert from NWLC

From the National Women's Law Center's email today:

Did you see the news? Like magic, just before Members of Congress headed home (many on airplanes), they quickly passed a bill to prevent long delays at airports — delays caused by the draconian federal budget cuts known as the "sequester," including furloughs of air traffic controllers. How convenient!

From this experience we learn that Congress actually can act quickly — really, really quickly — if it wants to. So we have a question for you, Congress: What about fixing the rest of the sequester — especially the cuts to essential services for low-income women and their families?

Fired up? Now is the time to tell your Members of Congress to fix the sequester!

More job stifling from DAG McCrory

If something works, break it:

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s proposed budget calls for cutting funds for the BioAgriculture Center at Robeson Community College, a move that could stymie agricultural programs focusing on workforce development, job creation and business recruitment — and eliminate existing jobs. The budget proposed by the governor eliminates about $600,000 for the North Carolina Community College BioNetwork’s Mobile Launch Pad for Careers — which is not administered through the center at RCC — and the BioAgriculture Center on RCC’s campus. Built in 2004, the BioAgriculture Center is one of seven centers statewide that make up the North Carolina Community College BioNetwork, a network of centers that focus on biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and industries related to the life sciences.

I think the key word is that last one: "sciences". Forget about all the success our community college network has had in forming a bridge between education and entrepreneurship, between public and private innovation and job growth. If you're not putting taxpayer money directly into the pockets of businessmen, you're wasting time and encouraging intellectual meddling. The GOP crazy train is stuck in reverse, and building up speed.

Forgotten or marginalized: NC's rural communities in jeopardy

Cutting away the lifeline:

The governor is asking the legislature to gut the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center, which oversees efforts to help rural development. He is proposing to cut its annual budget from $18 million to $6.6 million. The center funds hundreds of grants – money for water and sewer or to fix up buildings – for businesses in rural areas.

I recently took part in a panel discussion, where a conservative economist was asked what should be done if North Carolina’s rural economy continued to collapse. Well, he replied, they could always move to the cities.

Rob doesn't reveal the name of said economist, but I'll wager it's this guy, who has done more than his fair share of damage to the way our current leadership understands NC's economic situation. In order to understand why Art Pope would want to cut the Rural Center so deeply, how they operate is the key:

Let's make 2013 the year we start to #RebuildNC

TWO THOUSAND TWELVE was a difficult year for public investments in North Carolina. We saw even more cuts to vital services on which the entire state depends, and the inadequate funding so many of our schools and other public structures have suffered through since the start of the Great Recession has become the new baseline by which some NC lawmakers will judge future spending decisions.

Justice denied: Civil legal aid for poor disappearing

When 4 out of 5 poor people aren't adequately represented, our court system can only adequately serve the rich:

Growing numbers of low-income Americans who cannot afford to hire a lawyer are also having a very difficult time getting access to one through increasingly overburdened civil legal aid services. Recent studies indicate that less than 20 percent of poor Americans’ legal needs are being met.

I understand that legal representation is an industry, and those who choose this field deserve compensation commensurate with their qualifications and efforts. But this growing inequality threatens the very integrity of the civil court system itself. Fix it or watch your industry crumble.

The clock is ticking for thousands of disabled

More chaff for the budget-cutters:

On Jan. 1, thousands of disabled people in group or adult care homes will no longer qualify for the services through Medicaid because the state considers them functional enough to live without them.

What a mess. Like many issues, this one could have been solved by allocating more resources through the Legislature. Oh, that's right. I forgot.

Oh, just let them have babies

They are shameless. Not only are they again targeting Planned Parenthood as the only contract provider of family planning services in NC. Our foresighted legislators are also proposing huge cuts in funding for teen pregnancy prevention programs that have been effectively reducing the number of teen pregnancies in NC.

Time sensitive: Stop the repeal of the estate tax!


We have just learned that the Revenue Laws Study Committee of the NCGA will likely consider whether or not to repeal North Carolina's estate tax at their meeting at 9:30 AM on Wednesday, March 7th (tomorrow!). Repeal of this tax would rob the state of $80 million in revenues ANNUALLY while benefiting ONLY those people inheriting estates worth $3.5 million in the case of individuals or $7 million for an estate left by a couple.

In other words, repeal of this tax would benefit less than half of North Carolina's 1% while slashing tens of millions of dollars badly needed in our state budget for many public services, including healthcare and our public school system -- already reeling under the burden of devastating budget cuts this year.

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