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Governor wants to cut $1 billion from budget

READ MORE: Governor wants to cut $1 billion from budget
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By GARY D. ROBERTSON
Associated Press Writer

RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- Gov. Bev Perdue's budget plan would cut nearly $1 billion for the coming year by eliminating programs and cutting Medicaid abuse.

Perdue on Tuesday unveiled her recommended changes for the second year of the two-year budget approved by the General Assembly last summer.

Most state agencies would have spending cut an additional 5 to 7 percent starting in July, except for education. Public schools would get money to buy hand-held devices to help teachers in lower grades assess student performance.

Teachers also would receive their longevity-based salary increases after they were suspended last year because of the bad economy. State employees and teachers would get a one-time bonus to make up for furloughs last year.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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THE FOLLOWING IS A NEWS RELEASE SENT TO THE WWAY NEWSCHANNEL 3 NEWSROOM FROM THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE...

Raleigh – Gov. Bev Perdue today released her proposed state budget for the 2010-2011 fiscal year. Released earlier than administrations in past years, Perdue’s budget makes critical investments in four key areas: jobs and the economy, education, setting government straight and safer communities. It cuts nearly $1 billion in spending and reallocates some $250 million to programs that will reform state government and continue to move the state forward through an economic recovery.

Spending cuts focused on programs and areas that were proven to be unproductive, wasteful or in need of greater efficiencies. Investments in technology to ferret out fraud, waste and abuse were also highlighted.

Highlights of the budget proposal include:

JobsNOW
· $15 million for a “Back to Work” Incentive Fund that will provide a direct rebate to small businesses that hire long-term unemployed workers.
· $250 per person credit for small businesses that provide health insurance to their employees.
· $22 million to establish the North Carolina Mobility Fund that will be used to address critical congestion bottlenecks and to improve our logistics capabilities.

Career and College – Ready, Set, Go!
· Protects class sizes for K-3, while giving local school systems the power to manage spending cuts.
· $39 million to provide teachers with hand-held diagnostic assessment devices in grades K-3 and grade 5.
· Fully funds enrollment growth and expands need-based financial aid at the university and community college levels.

Setting Government Straight
· Additional funding for the State Ethics Commission to ensure good government practices including an online personal financial interest disclosure system.
· Additional funding for the State Board of Elections to support campaign finance software that will improve the ease and reliability of filing, reporting and auditing campaign finance disclosure reports.
· $4 million for the Department of Revenue to target corporations that have outstanding tax liabilities. The initiative is expected to collect an estimated $110 million in additional tax revenue.
· Gov. Perdue’s crackdown on Medicaid fraud, waste and abuse is estimated to save over $35 million in 2010-11.
· Reduce spending by $20.5 million by linking inmate medical costs to the Medicare and Medicaid fee schedules.

Safer Communities

· $10 million to merge state criminal data records into one streamlined, comprehensive system, known as CJ LEADS.
· Funds to raise probation/parole officer salaries to improve the recruitment and retention of officers.
· Funding to establish statewide capacity for law enforcement to collect DNA at the time of felony arrests.

The budget also includes almost $1 billion in spending cuts. That total was achieved through efficiency measures, cutting waste and eliminating unproductive programs. Some cuts include:

· Reduce spending for most agencies by 5% to 7%.
· Education entities protected at less than 4% reductions.
· More than 600 positions eliminated.

In addition, Gov. Perdue’s budget ensures North Carolina’s financial security by earmarking $101.5 million to replenish the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

Click http://www.governor.state.nc.us/budget/ for the complete budget and supporting documents.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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Here she goes again

Just in from the News & Observer:

"Gov. Bev Perdue and First Gentleman Bob Eaves leave for a seven day trip to Germany Sunday for both business and pleasure...

...Perdue and Eaves will spend part of the trip as tourists themselves, visiting with some of Eaves' relatives. The first couple is paying their own airfare to Germany and back, as well as their own travel for the personal portion of the trip, according to Perdue's office."

Oh well, unemployment remains high. The Annointed One's 3 day "mini-vacation" to Asheville is billed as a boom to the economy.

She unveils a proposed budget which is so far from reality and funds availability that even her own Party notes it needs a lot of work.

But, not to worry. Rather than stay in state and work on the problems all of the citizens face, she's off to Germany on Sunday.

Her office notes they are paying their own airfare. Who's picking up the tab for her security force and possible entourage?

If you voted for her, you get what you deserve. I guess she'll be better equipped to yodel when she returns.

And of course, she won't face any further unpleasant questions concerning the Ruffin Poole inquiry and her involvement; if you saw that performance on the news this week; she did get testy and stalk off when questioned.

Are you happy you voted for her yet?

Hey, Tom.... Look at the

Hey, Tom....

Look at the bright side. At least the First Gentleman isn't on the state payroll!!!

Great writing and great exposure! Keep it up. I only wish I had the patience to analyze the budget as thoroughly as you.

The First Gentleman

may not be on the payroll but he has an Assistant who draws $55,000 from the State trough.

On another note, further examination reveals the State Commerce Department has an entoruage accompanying her.

I guess she does not get the message that her place is here working on the current platter of challenges.

OR, perhaps she realizes she's a one-termer and is milking the position for all she can.

I think you drove a stake

I think you drove a stake into the heart of the matter saying ..."she's a one-termer".

I can't believe that she's in the air again off to another foreign country with an entourage.

I don't deny that I am a consummate bulls*** artist and after many years of experience have become quite good at it, BUT, try as I might there's no way that I could justify the BS being foisted on the citizens by this governor.

Another Teaser

Hidden deep in the budget proposal is an increase of 25% for the fees we all pay to register our cars and trucks. Applies to commercial vehicle registration as well.

So while you pay $28 now; if approved, after 07/01, you'll pay $35.00.

Your state Government at work for you.

Oh, and for those of you who think Obamacare is so great; get ready.

Under that plan, the state will no longer receive 50% of medicaid presecription reductions as it now currently does. That will all go to the Feds. Do you think they considered that shortfall when they prepared the Budget?

That puts Medicaid in an even deeper hole than initially reported.

Your Federal Government at work for you.

Further amplification

For the past few days, I've been hitting on State Agencies and the payroll diversity. There's also quite a bit of apparent redundency in positions.

State Budget & Management lists a total of 84 employees which include:

Special Adviser $98,757
Executive 119,839
Management Executive 119,839
Budget Officer 153,000
Counsel 86,000
5 State Budget Managers 515,009 Total

The top 10 employees rake in $1,092,444 plus state benefits and health coverage as well as maybe a state vehicle or 2.

Board of Elections lists a total of 33 employees incuding:

Executive Secretary $117,397
Technology Director 97,969
General Counsel 91,229
Application Analyst 81,170
2 IT Managers 176,730

So the top 6 employees draw in $564,495 plus bennies and health insurance.

What amazes me, in this Department is the compensation for the auditors and folks who do the field work to ensure elections are on the up and up. They average less than $50,000 per. Heck, they's be better off getting a transfer to the Education Lottery.

What puzzles me throughout the review of all these agencies is the presence of at least 1, in some cases more, attorney on the Department staff. Why is there such a need for all these attroneys?

You also have to wonder how there could be so much allegded campaign fraud in the news, and fingers pointing at both the sitting and former Governors when you have an overstaffed and over compensated State Board of Ethics and a State Board of Elections.

You would think with all these people, drawing all those dollars and benefits, there would be no need for the Governor to call for transparency. You also have to wonder why it takes Federal participation to get some of these cases to the bar of justice. Don't we have something called the SBI?

Let Me Amplify Further

I've listed several state agencies where there seem to be a redundancy of positions and inflated salaries. Take a look at those in yesterday's postings, then consider the following:

State Ethics Commission
Executive Director $105,971
4 Staff Attorneys for a total 346,929

Have they earned their keep? Look at yesterday's announcement concerning a Plea Bargain and the case building against former Governor Easley. The Feds brought that one to the bar of justice.

Lt. Governor's Office
Asst for Research & Policy $62,000
Director of Communication 64,000
Special Projects Manager 62,000
Special Assistant 70,000
Asst Policy Director 67,000
Chief of Staff 107,000

What are Special Projects? What does a Special Assistant do? Why can'nt the Governor and Lt. Governor both share a Communications Director?

State Health Plan -- this is the Agency which oversees the health plan for state employees

Executive Administrator $200,000
Executive VP 142,000
Director, Product Development 99,174
Network Manager 74,205
Legal Counsel 96,174
Human Resources Director 94,700
Director, Corporate Commun 93,572
Deputy Exec Administrator 136,537
Pharmacist 95,568
Health Care Manager 80,000
Director, Contract Compliance 78,916
Director, Pharmacy Benefits 76,806
I T Manager 62,399
Acctg Supervisor 80,000
Clinical Risk Manager 83,000

Sixteen employees being paid $1,493,051 with state benefits and maybe a few state vehicles thrown in. Why would they need an attorney?

This type of redundancy is found throughout state government. In a tight economy with limited cash, can the State afford so many employees earning over $200,000 a year plus benefits?

It's my money and its your money. While she calls for some across the board cuts, it seems to me there are plenty of departments which should receive special attention. The Education Lottery and Cultural Affairs Departments come to the forefront.

She talks about eliminating 600 jobs as part of the process. The vast majority of those jobs are currently vacant. So if the jobs are vacant; no pay or benefits are being expended, how does that save one dollar?

Federal stimulus money, a cornerstone of her budget, runs out this year. What happens on January 1 when there are no federal stimulus dollars?

Medicaid Fraud will be targeted. Why has that not been an ongoing process for the last 30 or 40 years? Since Medicaid is expected to spend $500,000,000 more than budgeted due to government mandates, where is the savings?

We have a primary election in a few weeks. When you attend a candidates forum, ask the candidates some specific questions. Will they push to eliminate some of these wasteful and redundant positions?

We need to hold the feet to the fire right now. Get after your current state Senator and Legislator. They're the ones who have to take this proposal and make the changes to achieve the mandated balanced budget.

Even with a billion dollars in cuts, it still comes up short.

It must going to snow..

because I agree with you on this issue..start cutting at the top instead of looking at people who actually do the real work in these state jobs..They always want to cut the blue collar positions first where then lies the problems in service the public receives..cut the high paying positions..we are all in this together and it should start at the top instead of the bottom..

If you

look at her announcement, and read the fine print, the 600 jobs to be eliminated are all vacant.

Now, I am challenged to understand how eliminating vacant jobs, on which you are neither paying salary or providing benefits, results in savings.

Also, look at some of my posts yesterday. I had 3 or 4 state agencies listed where there is so much pork it is scandalous.

How, in this economy, can the State justify someone to run the state Art Museum at $260,000 a year?

See, we agreed for once, probably more if you get down to it, and no hurricane off shore.

Gov Perdue Budget

No one wants to see the quality of our education system suffer, but it does seem obvious that this governor has a bias when it comes looking after her "sacred cow" in the budget. Every department should be treated equally when budget cuts are required.

Are you kidding me? Get informed!

You stated that she is biased and should cut every department. Education was the first to get the cuts last year. Did you miss that? She furloughed several days and she increased class size and cut many positions. Please know what you are talking about before you make yourself look uninformed.
The sacred cow is just that. Without education we might have even more uninformed people.

Why don't You Get Informed?

Why is it necessary for untold millions to be expended every year, across the state, to provide Resource Officers in every school?

That's every school, elementary through High, in every county.

That's got to amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars daily to have a Sheriff's Deputy on site.

Why is that?

Every taxpayer should be outraged at an education system which has so little ability to maintain order that it is necessary to tie up thousands of deputies throughout the state.

Every student, whose behaviour is so uncivilized that an officer is required to maintain order, should be suspended and sent home and not allowed back onto the school grounds until his or her parents accept responsibility and accountability for their behaviour. If necessary, let the parents man the school hallways. Maybe Mom & Dad's presence at school will calm down characters like "Puff" and all these other personnas who think they are greater than the education system.

If they have any other purpose on campus, other than taking advantage of the educational process and resources, they should be out. Throw them off the campus so they can not disrupt class and interfere with those students who are there trying to get an education.

OR, equip all the teachers, counselors, and Staff members with cattle prods which should be used whenever a student feels the need to be disruptive.

Reduce

spending and cut jobs.

I'd previously posted several items which listed specific departments, such as Cultural Resources and the Education Lottery along with the Governor's Office.

If she's truly serious, she should start with those 3 Departments. In a tight budget and economy, it is impossible to accept state employee salaries in excess of $200,000 for folks like the Lottery Director and the head of the State Art Museum.

When you talk about reducing staff, look at some of the agencies where you have 5 or more Assistant Directors as well as Executive Directors.

And how about hitting on the political hacks appointed to state Boards and Commissions where they earn $100,000 or more plus state health insurance for 5 to 7 days, or less in some cases, of work activity? Need an example -- look at the recently appointed head of the state Utility Commssion.

My posts merely hit the tip of the iceberg.

She could also ground herself and stop taking so many state funded trips with large entourages.

Good Democrat

She's just doing what most Good Democrats do, spend someone else's money as if it were her own.

Devil in the making

Devil in the making....Enough said.

huh.....

DEVIL not in making has already been made and is still there.

State employees are a large

State employees are a large voting body in NC. If you will notice, she has been discussing paying back teachers the money she took from us last year. What I notice is how these things seem to arise around elcetion time. Please don't forget what Purdue has done when you vote. Make sure you vote her little ignorant spending self out of office. Trips to Holleywood, Germany, etc.....seems to always have a reason to travel somewhere.

Discussing

a payback and doing a payback are 2 different things.

The money's just not going to be there to do all she's promised.

If she wants to start by setting an example, she should voluntarily waive salary for the remainder of her term. She & the First Gentlemen own a house in the Chapel Hill area with a tax value in excess of $1.4 million and she owns one in the New Bern area worth something in the neighborhood of $750,000.

Step 2 -- stop traveling & remain in state to focus on issues and solutions.

It seems like every 3 months she's on another jaunt at the taxpayer expense. She departs on Sunday for Germany, and rumor has it will include a stop in England. She's been in office 16 months. She's had 2 out of country vacations (including one during her first 30 days in office), a trip to China, a trip to Hollywood, and now Germany.

Was she elected to travel or provide leadership for the state? Has anyone seen any business development or foriegn investment as a result of her travels? What's going to be different with this trip to Europe?

Step 3 -- cut the salary of every state employee to a maximum of $150,000. How in this economy, can the State afford to pay $240,000+ to the Head of the State Art Museum in Raleigh or a similar amount to the head of the Education Lottery. There's a cornicopia full of state employees making well over $150,000 plus benefits and in some cases state vehicles. They can'nt handle the pay cut then put the employee on a performance based compensation plan. Tie, as an example, compensation for the Director of the Education Lottery to the net profits being deposited to the Education Fund.

Step 4 -- require every state Agency with more than one Assistant Director or Manager to justify the need for the excess. Some of these Agencies, and I've noted them in various posts, have a Head, an Assistant Head, then Managers & Supervisors. The Education Lottery is probably one of the worst examples with a squad of over paid Directors, Assistant Directors, Managers, and so forth.

Step 5 -- cut the compensation of every appointee, the ones who serve at the Governor's pleasure and earn $100,000 or more for 6 to 8 days per month of work, to no more than $50,000. There are a whole slew of Commissioners, such as the recently appointed heads of the Prison Commission and the State Utilities Commission, who've left elected office for the appointed office. And, then waive their right to state retirement and health benefits if they serve 2 years or more.

Step 6 -- be an Education Governor and hold the local school boards accountable. Demand that the in school atmosphere improve to the point there will be no need for school resource officers. Get tough with the disruptive, thug element which is apparently in so many schools.

There's a 6 point plan for starters.

I wonder how many candidates for election this year would agree to these terms?