Draconian spending cuts proposed by the N.C. House should not stand as the answer to the state's economic crisis. Balancing the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable is not only ill-conceived but immoral.
At a time of record unemployment, eliminating thousands of state government jobs in critical areas such as corrections, education and health care will only make a bad situation worse. Of course, there will always be a vocal minority opposing any raise in taxes.
House leadership should not bow to these voices but rather craft a balanced approach to meeting the shortfall, which not only includes sensible spending cuts but also thoughtful plans for increasing revenue. North Carolina would do well to look at other states for ideas on how to tackle its widening budget gap. No state with a projected gap as large as North Carolina's is attempting to balance its budget on cuts alone.
It's time for N.C. legislators to do the right thing. I applaud Gov. Beverly Perdue for taking this approach. Increased excise taxes for cigarettes and alcohol will help, but raising taxes on higher-income taxpayers should also be on the table.
Denise Cumbee Long, Raleigh