When the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors criticizes your management style, boy, are you in trouble.
But that’s the case with North Carolina’s legislature, which still hasn’t passed a state budget and shows no signs of doing so any time soon.
The Honorables at the Legislative Building, as you’ll recall, are at odds with Gov. Roy Cooper, a card-carrying Democrat. Cooper vetoed the Republican-written budget. Since the GOP lost seats in the last election, they can’t override that veto.
Grownups, in this situation, would normally negotiate a compromise, but compromise in politics, as we all know, is for sissies and snowflakes. So, the Republicans passed a bunch of “mini-budgets” to keep some offices running and decided to hunker down on the rest.
Now, this is not exactly a catastrophe. Unlike at the federal level, a budget impasse won’t mean the government is shutting down. Basically, the state will just default to its last budget.
And what’s wrong with that? Enter the Board of Governors — or BOG, as they’re somewhat affectionately known. These worthy gentlemen (actually 19 men and five ladies) owe their jobs to the legislature and they are almost exclusively Republican — not a Bernie-crat in the bunch.
Nevertheless, the BOG passed a resolution Jan. 17 unanimously calling on the legislature to quit monkeying around and pass a budget, for Pete’s sake.
As the BOGgers pointed out, not passing a budget is holding up $800 million the state’s university system really needs, including $130 million for repairs and renovations, building projects on multiple campuses and funds to aid poor students with tuition.
And that’s not all, folks. Without a budget, the state’s teachers aren’t getting any raise at all. (The GOP offered a pay increase that Cooper considered paltry — but again, no bargaining, no compromise.) Some $20 million in funding for housing for low-income and handicapped folks in rural areas is on hold.
Meanwhile, Moody’s, the investment service, has been making noises that if the state doesn’t clean up its act, its bond rating might have to be cut. Translation: The state — meaning taxpayers — will have to pay more interest on bonds and loans.
So, what’s the holdup? The size of the teachers’ raise, for one. Extension of Medicaid coverage to some lowwage workers, for another; Republicans think this smacks of Obamacare, even though other “Red” states have gone along and are collecting millions in federal funds.
If this were a kindergarten class, the warring parties would be taken into a corner and told to make nice and make up. Good advice: Negotiate and break the deadlock. Now.
Contact Bobby Burns at firstname.lastname@example.org and 329.9572.