The human cost of the looming budgetPosted: January 25, 2011
The Fayetteville Observer opined recently about the need for the coming state austerity budget and the inevitable human costs in terms of jobs and programs. Governments should help those who can’t help themselves. All others? That’s a different question.
The new Republican leadership appears ready for severe cuts in state programs and jobs to make ends meet. In a surprising, probably pre-emptive dash to the right, Gov. Bev Perdue took that position ahead of them. Democratic legislators are stepping more cautiously, warning of the likely results of slashing education and human services budgets.
The Democrats’ fears are legitimate. We’re three years into the Great Recession emergency and most government departments and services have already seen serious cutbacks. But while it’s inadvisable to cut our way out of this year’s budget hole, it’s just as unwise to tax our way out. This state’s tax burden is one of the larger in the South and substantial increases could threaten what little economic expansion we’ve seen.