Letters: Legislators need to re-visit the issue
Many of the proposed cuts were certainly necessary in order to balance the budget, although state government must understand you never make cuts to public safety or the judicial system, that being law enforcement, judges and the district attorney’s office.
It is imperative that citizens feel safe at all times, either at home or away from one’s home. The district attorney’s office has always been overwhelmed with cases, before the budget cuts affected their office.
To make cuts in the district attorney’s staff will only result in cases going to court with the defense being more prepared than the prosecutors due to an unmanageable caseload, resulting in more and more criminals getting away with the crimes they have committed, making our streets a much more dangerous place.
The prosecutors will be forced to offer more plea deals they would not have normally offered due to the shortage in assistant prosecutors qualified to try cases in a court of law.
Another failure in the enacted budget is the failure of the N.C. Legislature to intervene on the gas tax hike that is recalculated automatically twice a year. We will hear many reasons why the legislature could not agree on an alternative solution to raising the gas tax, although being that we are now paying 35 cents in taxes on every gallon sold, any excuse is really just hogwash. Especially, since the state collected $2.7 billion in state-generated transportation funds, 60 percent from the gas tax alone.
Our gas tax puts us among the highest in the Southeast and 13th in the nation. This puts us at a great disadvantage with bordering states in an effort to lure much needed revenues. An example being South Carolina was at 16.75 cents in gas taxes per gallon compared to North Carolina’s 32.5 cents per gallon.
I personally know many of our state representatives and hold them in high regard. I also know mistakes in judgment will happen at times. That is understandable, although not fixing a problem of this magnitude immediately is unacceptable.
Perhaps our legislators will re-visit this issue before the next budget session. The citizens of North Carolina are counting on you.