Legislative Agenda 2009: Responding to Crisis and Building a More Resilient North Carolina

LEGISLATIVE AGENDA 2009

Like most of the rest of the United States, North Carolina is confronting what could be the deepest and most difficult economic crisis since the Great Depression. Working and middle class families whose incomes and living standards never really recovered from the downturn of 2001-’02 are now facing a new round of fear, uncertainty and pain. In such times, North Carolinians have a right to expect that their government will act with urgency to alleviate pain and suffering and to chart a new and healthier course -- both for public institutions and the state’s overall economy. It is essential that state leaders be guided by the following principles as they craft their 2009 state policy agenda:

1) Do no harm. Before anything else, state leaders must do no additional harm to vulnerable populations. This means preserving and, if possible, supplementing the existing social safety net and putting people to work.

2) Reform for the future. Current budget shortfalls are primarily the result of the state’s antiquated and regressive revenue system - not overspending. Now is the time to enact structural reforms that will enhance revenues in way that reduces volatility and promotes greater fairness and equity.

3) Invest in people. Aside from addressing immediate needs to prevent suffering, the top longer term investment priority for state leaders must be those programs that support and develop North Carolina’s human infrastructure: affordable health care and housing, K-12 and higher education, job training, child care and consumer protections that assure a fair  andvibrant marketplace for all.

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