March 10, 2015

A predictable, overblown reaction from the bigger government lobby at the News and Observer is a clear signal Governor McCrory produced a fiscally responsible budget last week.

While limiting overall spending growth below population plus inflation, the Governor devotes an additional $237 million to public education to hire 1400 new teachers, raise teacher pay, buy books and supplies and improve pre-k. While Beverly Perdue and the Democrats froze teacher salaries, the Republicans will have increased teacher pay in three out of four years under the McCrory budget.

Governor McCrory also proposes a good reform by making state employee pay more competitive in hard to fill jobs and across the board raises for dangerous jobs like the Highway Patrol and prison guards. Restoring reserve funds back toward pre recession levels and expanding science instruction in community colleges makes sense.

North Carolina needs a growing economy, not bigger government. Governor McCrory is focused on that goal. He’s getting results as our economy creates new jobs faster than the nation.

But the Governor’s good ideas are threatened by the Medicaid Monster that continues eating the state’s resources. Under McCrory’s budget, even assuming passage of the meager reforms the bureaucracy envisions, state spending on Medicaid shoots from $3.6 billion to over $4 billion, another double digit increase in the biennial budget.

Clearly, the open ended welfare entitlement of free health insurance at taxpayers expense is absorbing more of the revenue needed for education. Bold reform, not baby steps, is required. The House really can’t afford to go along with the special interest lobbyists behind pseudo reform. Pass real reform like the Senate’s managed care competition plan.

Without fixing Medicaid, we’ll never get teacher pay where it belongs.