House passes budget

Tonight, in order to meet the constitutional requirement that the budget be voted on in two separate days, the state House is staying past midnight. One standout on the bill — a sustantial increase to the rainy day fund.

The budget just passed on second reading 68 to 51.

Third reading is a little more than an hour away.

Bill and the PCS on the NCGA home page

AP on the debate.

Also right after midnight: Gerry Cohen's birthday.


Gonna be pissed, looks like Blust came out blustering....

"How can we even use the word 'temporary' any more?" said Rep. John Blust, R-Guilford. "We need to restore our credibility, we should have met our word."

Read further down though and you see this:

In the coming weeks, the Senate will approve its own spending plan, one that likely will let the temporary taxes expire as scheduled

This is a start,

House members agreed unanimously to give another $40 million to the counties to help them with the costs of Medicaid, raising next year's total to $100 million. County commissioners statewide have said their top priority for the Legislature is to eliminate their share of patient medical expenses, expected to surpass $500 million next year.

Medicaid takes a pretty big chunk out of county budgets, I'm glad that they are working on it and hope they eventually take the whole Medicaid burden off the counties.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions


Thanks for the birthday wishes!

Happy Birthday

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Smart Start

Reports last night were that Smart Start was only given a $1 million dollar increase in the house budget. That sounds like a lot, but it isn't. It's to cover the increasing costs of 79 early childhood partnerships that serve all 100 counties in the state. Current funding levels only fund Smart Start at 52% of the estimated need. The Governor's budget didn't include an increase at all, so this is a start, but please call or write your senators and ask them to increase the line item for Smart Start.

What does Smart Start do? Provides hands on help to day care teachers to help them care for the children in their care. Provides access to needed services like dental care where it is not available (in my county, an activity has a dental center open in the northern part of the county where there just isn't a dentist. The dentist is paid by Smart Start when medicaid does not cover the costs for children ages 0-5). Provides additional child care subsidy funds to support low-income families. Provides family support activities such as Parents as Teachers. Provides qualified substitutes so that preschool and child care teachers can continue their education. Provides information and resources to families.

Because the money is administered by local partnership boards comprised of local stakeholders (agency heads, business owners, school personnel, parents, child care directors, etc.), each community is able to design their programs to meet the unique needs of their community. And it works.
Please encourage the Senate to champion Smart Start, the only statewide school-readiness and wellness initiative to focus on children from the day they are born. Children from birth to three really do matter!
The Den
My darling girl, when will you understand that 'normal' isn't necessarily a virtue. It rather denotes a lack of courage." - Alice Hoffman, Practical Magic