Well, Governess Perdue has shown us, once again, her secret formula for becoming a one-termer. Her recent budget proposal pushes mandated public school spending requirements down to county level. Yesterday, she formally offered the meager fund balances from all 100 counties to pay off those recurring costs with one-time monies. This is wrong on so many levels I scarce have time and space to address them. So, here’s just a brief synopsis of her folly.
Perdue was already in hot water with her budget recommendations immediately to compel counties to purchase their own buses, to pay for all school-related tort claims, and to pay for all unemployment compensation claims. In prior years, the state paid for all three line items as a matter of course. Now, in the same year that revenues are tight all around, she hands down this mandated spending requirement to the counties. This would be a red herring even in a good revenue year.
But wait, it gets even better. Yesterday Governess Perdue informed the legislature that the counties have sufficient fund balance excesses to pay for the mandates she has volunteered the counties to expense. Little old Lee County has what she claims is a $4M overage in its statutorily required fund balance to pay for the public school expenses the state no longer wants to fund. She is advocating the legislature tell the counties to use their fund balances for that purpose. Forget the fact that the counties, too, are cash strapped and need to use their fund balances for their own capital expenses.
Even more egregious: all those mandated public school requirements the Governess wants us to pay for are recurring capital or operational expenses, not one-time expenses. Using county fund balances for those kinds of expenses is financially irresponsible. How would they be paid for next year when the same expenses have to be paid? Even the Governor’s own Department of Commerce and the UNC School of Government preach against such practices. What is she thinking? No, you’re right. She wasn’t thinking.
Are you monitoring all of this Pat McCrory? You couldn’t ask for a better opening act in your run for Governor!