Brandon: Education funding must be protected in budget proposals
NCIN outlined earlier today North Carolina Treasuer Janet Cowell’s ideas for countering the state’s budget deficit, which hew closely with sympathetic groups like the NC Justice Center. In effect, Democrats and aligned groups seem to be framing the $3.7 billion deficit as a revenue problem due to the downturn in the economy instead of the deficit being a result of overspending by state government. This framing of the budget deficit comes as Democrats are trying to hold off major cuts in education funding.
After the Republicans took control of the General Assembly in the midterm elections, both Governor Beverly Perdue and former Democratic House Speaker Joe Hackney said they will fight to preserve public education funding and teachers’ jobs.
Marcus Brandon, one of the small number of freshmen Democrats who will join the General Assembly this month, said Republicans need to present a budget plan that spares education funding.
“Democrats had the same shortfall [last year] and were able to get out without hurting education. Republicans really need to figure out a way to do the same thing,” Brandon told the North Carolina Independent News.
Brandon, who attended public schools growing up in Greensboro, is not a wholesale defender of public schools, saying a lot of things need to be fixed, including the focus on testing. But he says Republicans didn’t campaign on cutting education as part of their budget solutions.
“If Republicans had run on cutting education they wouldn’t have been so popular,” he said.
Brandon also said he wants to see more focus in the budget on economic development and jobs, and praised Governor Perdue for her work in those areas. But he said Democrats allowed themselves to be portrayed on the campaign trail as not doing enough on the jobs issue. A Forbes magazine report in October ranked North Carolina the third-best state for business, but, “you barely heard a thing about it” and that was the fault of Democrats, Brandon said.
Great point! Education has to become a priority. Republicans ran and won on change we’ll see how it goes.