Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Budget fatigue

As I keep reading, line by line, the governor's budget proposal it tends to make my eyes, mind, and soul hurt! Not because it's a good or bad proposal, but it's simply hard work for someone not trained in accounting, business, budgets, etc.

My mind is already fried trying to figure out how in the world I'm going to fill out my NCAA bracket! I'm a college basketball fanatic you see.

Anyway, I want to focus tonight on Gov. Perdue's program eliminations she proposed today. We've heard plenty about job cuts, tax increases (cigarettes and alcohol), and spending cuts. I encourage you to read several sources because it's complicated and not every story focuses on the same thing or as well as others.

With Gov. Perdue's budget (which is actually about 6 huge packets in binders that is daunting just to look at) she included a three page hand-out detailing program eliminations. It didn't make too many headlines. The closure of several coreectional facilities probably got the most attention from this section. You see it only cuts a total of $37.4 million dollars. It does equal 842 positions (not all "real people" but positions).

Anyway, it provides a unique look at how detailed spending is in the budget and things that cost money you might never imagine.

Take the elimination of the internship program at the State Controller's office. How much do you think that would cost? Try $119,000 per year. I'm not sure how well these interns are paid but I had to beg for a free internship in my business!

Be careful next time you're on the Neuse River because the River Rapid Response Team was eliminated as well. (a cool $202,877 and 4.5 jobs gone).

And if you're interested in how insects can benefit our state? You better rely on old research because the Beneficial Insect Lab at the Department of Agriculture has been eliminated by the budget fly swatter ($91,148 per year).

An apprenticeship program at the Dept. of Labor costs $1.8 million with 26 positions. Gone.

At least two camps in the Juvenile Justice and Delinquincy Prevention are gone (2.5 mill and 21 jobs).

How about this one...we are in a considerable economic crisis and what got cut from Public Instruction (schools)? You guessed it a Personal Financial Literacy program ($500,000).

Those are just a few examples of 39 eliminations. Don't get me wrong, I am by no means criticizing or cheerleading these cuts. Cuts needed to be made somewhere. I was just pointing out for your benefit the detail of the budget and some of the programs your tax dollars fund you might never ever imagine.

Think of it this way that $37.5 million in cuts is just a tiny fraction of a $21 billion dollar budget. Imagine how hard it is to figure out the rest and understand it all!

Let me know what you think of the Governor's proposal.

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