MEDIA RELEASE: Dozens of local elected officials call on legislature to raise revenue to restore deep budget cuts

Leaders cite cuts to schools, infrastructure

Raleigh (May 15, 2012) – In a letter released this morning, 85+ local elected officials, including mayors, city councilors, county commissioners, and school board members, called on legislative leaders to consider raising new revenues to restore funding for schools, infrastructure and other public investments.

“As you return to Raleigh to adjust and finalize your state budget for FY 2012-2013, we urge you to put all options on the table, including revenue ideas such as reinstating temporarily the penny sales tax to restore deep budget cuts to education, health care and infrastructure, ” reads the letter.

One city councilor who signed the letter, Councilman Mac Herring from Mooresville, noted that North Carolina’s public structures, like education, health care and infrastructure, are crucial for economic development.

“Exploring all options to fund these endeavors is essential to secure and maintain the ability of North Carolina to effectively compete in the world wide economy,” said Herring.

Over the last three years, local officials state that they have used limited resources as efficiently and creatively as possible, but that they can only stretch a dollar so far. According to the letter, the deep cuts were entirely avoidable.

“The budget shortfall could have been closed with a combination of careful cuts and smart revenue solutions. But instead, the budget gap was closed with a cuts-only approach,” the letter said.

Together NC coordinator Louisa Warren noted that it was significant for so many local elected officials to be speaking out for the need for additional revenue to restore deep budget cuts.

“It’s not an easy thing for local elected officials to take a stand on revenue and we commend the more than 85 signers today for being courageous for the future of North Carolina,” said Warren. “It’s a testament to how deep the legislature’s budget decisions have cut into local communities. They’re struggling and local elected officials are asking for help.”

The letter was delivered to the following legislators this morning via email:

House Speaker Thom Tillis
Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger
Rep. Harold Brubaker, Senior Chairman, Appropriations Committee
Rep. Jim Crawford, Chairman, Appropriations Committee
Rep. Nelson Dollar, Chairman, Appropriations Committee
Rep. Mitch Gillespie, Chairman, Appropriations Committee
Rep. Linda Johnson, Chairman, Appropriations Committee
Sen. Peter S. Brunstetter, Co-Chairman, Appropriations Committee
Sen. Neal Hunt, Co-Chairman, Appropriations Committee
Sen. Richard Stevens, Co-Chairman, Appropriations Committee
Rep. Julia Howard, Senior Chairman, Finance Committee
Rep. Dale Folwell, Chairman, Finance Committee
Rep. Mitch Setzer, Chairman, Finance Committee
Rep. Edgar Starnes, Chairman, Finance Committee
Sen. Fletcher L. Hartsell, Jr., Co-Chairman, Finance Committee
Sen. Bob Rucho, Co-Chairman, Finance Committee

For a complete list of the signers to the letter, visit here.

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Together NC is a collection of more than 120 non-profit organizations, service providers, and professional associations who have come together to promote wise choices for shared prosperity for all North Carolinians. For more information, visit www.togethernc.org

CONTACT: Together NC coordinators: Louisa Warren, (919) 801-0465, louisa@ncjustice.org or Rob Thompson, (919) 649-2449, rob@nccovenant.org