. . . that’s better for Southeast, too

By: - June 17, 2005 5:02 am

Democrats in the N.C. House must like Southeastern North Carolina more than Democrats in the Senate do.

The House Dems would provide $4 million more to the state ports than the Senate and Gov. Mike Easley proposed. That’s not all the ports wanted, but it might allow the purchase of four container cranes for the Wilmington docks – cranes that will be needed if, as expected, deepening the channel attracts more ships.

The House also would create a public defender’s office for New Hanover and Pender counties, provide $500,000 to design a new research vessel for Cape Fear Community College, give UNCW the per-student money it’s long deserved, and put up $2.7 million to design a new nursing school for the campus. UNCW will need to crank out a lot more nursing graduates to care for the growing number of us coots and near-coots.

The House also would offer a one-time pittance to help counties pay their growing share of Medicaid.

What the legislature really should do is take that rapidly growing burden off counties entirely. It’s crushing their budgets, driving up property taxes and reducing the funds available for schools, law enforcement and other essentials.

Still, in comparison with the Senate’s abysmal budget, the House’s looks positively Solomonic.

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Chris Fitzsimon

Chris Fitzsimon, Founder and Executive Director of N.C. Policy Watch, writes the Fitzsimon File, delivers a radio commentary broadcast on WRAL-FM and hosts "News and Views," a weekly radio news magazine that airs on multiple stations across North Carolina. [email protected] 919-861-2066