Let the fireworks begin, North Carolina legislators missed the deadline to pass a new state budget, so they went home for the July 4th holiday.  They now have until the 15th of July to decide which programs face the chopping block. But don’t let the budget tango they are preforming  in Raleigh mislead you. Legislators’ know exactly where cuts to balance the budget could and should be made, it’s just those cuts aren’t on the table. Why? Our legislators’ don’t want to bite the hands that feed them, literally. Here’s two examples that boggle the mind.

The program to provide uninsured children with health care will be cut back, but what about the unusual tax credit North Carolina gives insurance companies, which reduces their tax bill by $20 million a year, a hole the rest of us have to fill?

Students (and their parents) will suffer because of cuts in funding for teacher assistants, but what about cutting the $12 million annual subsidy that primarily benefits wealthy athletic boosters at the universities?

 “A hole the rest of us have to fill?” seems to be the common theme when you consider the special-interest loopholes in the proposed state budget and a recent analysis  by Democracy North Carolina puts the numbers in black and white.  

The analysis by the watchdog group Democracy North Carolina shows that legislative winners in 2008 received 94 percent of the $5.7 million the big PACs donated to all legislative candidates. The PACs also gave $770,000 to gubernatorial and other statewide candidates, as well as $590,000 to political party committees, much of which gets funneled into legislative races. On September 16, 2008 the NC Realtors Association PAC sent 106 legislative candidates a total of $169,500 in donations. The same day, the NC Telephone Cooperative’s PAC sent $66,800 to 75 legislators. The next day, the Blue Cross PAC sent $42,200 to 45 candidates and two weeks later, Bank of America’s PAC gave 84 legislative candidates $118,250. And on and on it went.

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