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NC Moms Protest Bare Bones Budget

January 26, 2011

RALEIGH, N. C. - State legislators converging on Raleigh Wednesday have a tough job ahead of them - trying to plug a $3.7 billion hole in the state budget. While a cuts-only approach is among the solutions on the table, many are already protesting that notion.

According to the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center, severe budget cuts could result in layoffs of 18,000 teachers and school employees. North Carolina mom Beth Messersmith with the group MomsRising explains her concerns.

"Last year they cut to the bone; this year they're talking about cutting to the marrow. There's not really much more that we can cut before we start talking about really painful choices for North Carolina families."

MomsRising is a national grassroots effort by mothers that aims to protect family programs in government; in North Carolina, it has 21,000 members. Cuts could also impact family activities. According to an analysis by the group Together NC, four state parks could be closed as a result of budget cuts, and those that remain open would be closed Tuesday through Thursday.

An added complication to maintaining current programs is that North Carolina has lost $1.6 billion in federal stimulus dollars that expired last year. Making more cuts now doesn't add up, says Messersmith.

"A cuts-only approach is not going to be enough. We have to realize that there are painful choices that have to be made – and they also include raising revenue and taking a more balanced approach."

Statewide results from Public Policy Polling indicate a strong majority of North Carolinians from both major political parties support revenue-raising options that would reduce the need to cut.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC