Governor McCrory released his budget proposal officially signaling the beginning of the state budget process.
“We know that this is the beginning of the state budget process. From an agricultural perspective there are a lot of good things in the budget, it includes funding for the Agwater resource assistant program, its important for keeping soil and water conservation districts across the state to keep pace with an increasing demand for water resources.
I was very pleased to see budget funding for the Southeastern Agricultural Event Center and the NC Wine and Grape Council. In addition, there is money there to booster our food safety efforts.
The NC Biotech Center and the NC Rural Center did see significant cuts. That has to be straightened out. There are a few things that I have to work on at the legislature to make sure that we are able to operate efficiently. One of them is a provision that asks us to find $2 million in managerial cuts in the department. We have already been cutting for a long time and its getting much harder to find reductions without harming some of our essential services.
This is kind of the process that you go through when you change governors. A lot of this information was submitted under the old governor and her guidelines. We did meet with the new officials and explain some of our needs but it’s a long process to get a budget developed. I will be explaining why some of the cuts will be very dangerous to the department. We do need some expansion in the forest service to be able to fight forest fires. If we had a season like we did a few years ago, we don’t have the money to fight the fires. I would hate to see people and property in danger because we don’t have the funds.
This is the beginning. We have been though many processes since I’ve been here and many budgets over the years have started out looking pretty dire. When it all ends up its usually ok.”