Rather than concede that they’re ducking those debates, Republicans are claiming there’s nothing left to discuss. Rep. Nelson Dollar, a Cary Republican and the House’s chief budget writer, said, “Most of the budgeting was done for the second year last year in the budget. It was obviously fully debated, fully discussed, fully amended,” – https://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/editorials/article211879774.html.
If I lived in District 36, I would vote for Julie von Haefen. I do not; however, von Haefen’s election affects all of North Carolina as she is running against Nelson Dollar, a man who has rubber-stamped ill-gotten policies against public education and ensured that the budget reflected the will of a few and not of the state.
When the North Carolina General Assembly powers decided to ram their state budget through a committee report instead of through a bill, they broke with a precedent that is vital for democracy: debate and chance to amend.
And what Rep. Nelson Dollar of Wake County said in the above quote is indicative of two distinct facets of many in the NCGA. First, they are scared. When the NCGA went “nuclear,” they showed that debate on education budgeting and what May 16th’s march and rally were not favorable to them. It would further expose their hypocrisy.
Secondly, it showed that the NCGA leaders know that the budget is not favorable to public education. If it was, then it could stand on its own in a bill.
Dollar is the chief budget writer for the NC State House. He knows exactly what he is doing when it comes to public education. And as a representative of Wake County, it was especially revealing what he said in reference to the recent WCPSS Board meeting in which his county’s school system had to somehow cover a multi-million dollar shortfall due to state budgeting.
As Wake County school leaders decided what to cut to close a $25.5 million budget gap, one of them blasted state leaders, saying the state isn’t providing enough funding to operate schools.
“It’s not right. It needs to change, and the public needs to know what’s going on,” said school board member Bill Fletcher during Tuesday’s meeting as the board prepared to vote on various budget cuts. “I am reasonably outraged at why we’re having to do it.”
He said over the last several years, the county has increasingly raised taxes to cover expenses previously handled by the state. This year, Wake County commissioners increased school funding by $45 million, which was a record.
“That’s $120 million a year out of Wake County property taxes that’s being used to supplement the state budget,” he said.
In an interview Wednesday, he added, “It’s been happening over time. The Republican legislature has kind of amped it up a little bit, if you will” (https://www.cbs17.com/news/local-news/wake-county-news/wake-school-board-member-says-state-isn-t-providing-enough-funding/1296649096).
Makes one wonder who has been helping put those budgets together that might make Mr. Fletcher say something like that. Nelson Dollar has been a chief budget writer for a while.
In response to Fletcher’s words, Dollar said,
“What the state has been working on for a number of years, of course, is our highest priorities, which are to raise teacher salaries,” said Dollar. “They also have a responsibility at the local level to try to be more efficient in what they’re doing.”
He added, “Here in Wake County, unfortunately, we’ve seen higher taxes. But, they have not been able to manage their school budget within the resources that they have.”
Anyone is allowed to believe that if he /she wants, but it is a conveniently safe and horrible answer. Consider this with teacher salaries which will remain over %15 under the national average:
And that provision in the state budget that allows for property taxes to be used to offset local school costs? Dollar helped enable that. It might just drive property taxes higher in Wake County.
Julie von Haepen simply makes more sense than Nelson Dollar. In fact, her “sense” has much more value than a “Dollar” when it comes to public schools in North Carolina.
So, when Dollar said, “Most of the budgeting was done for the second year last year in the budget. It was obviously fully debated, fully discussed, fully amended,” he needs to remember that the discussion still needs to happen.
Well into November.