NC House Discussing Early Childhood Cuts Today

Today, the House Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee will discuss the budget and cuts to all Division of Child Development programs, including Smart Start. In preparation for that discussion, the subcommittee met yesterday to release the schedule for completion of the House version of the budget and to set out the rules that will govern the subcommittee’s work. Listen in this morning (Wednesday) to the HHS subcommittee meeting; www.ncleg.net, audio, Appropriations Committee Room 643 at 8:30 a.m.

The Child Care Coalition put forth the following report.

What is the bad news on the money?
At this time, the House plans to develop a budget without any tax increases. That means the House budget will have to cut even more from both the Governor’s and Senate’s budget proposals. For HHS, this means a further reduction in the HHS part of the budget of $720 million more. The Division of Child Development (DCD) is 6% of the HHS budget, the third largest part behind Medicaid (65%) and Mental Health/Developmental Disabilities/Substance Abuse (MH/DD/SS) (15%). Social Services and Public Health are just behind DCD; 5% and 4% of the DHHS budget.

What are the ground rules for the subcommittee work?
Some of the more interesting rules for the subcommittee are as follows:
1) Attention should be focused on the core mission of various divisions of DHHS
2) Non-profit expenditures should be able to be justified (a common request each year)
3) no expansion requests except for Medicaid requirements
4) the subcommittee can look at consolidations of programs such as pre-k (Smart Start/More at Four/DCD), but all decisions will be made by the eight “Big Chairs, ”
5) propose a continuation review for at least one large program or division (this has been a recent request by Appropriations over the last several years with the review conducted by the General Assembly’s Program Evaluation Unit).

What is the schedule for the rest of the House budget deliberations?
May 19, 20, 21, 22: Subcommittee meets to go over DHHS Divisions and discussion of what to cut (Open)
May 26, 27: Subcommittee continues to meet with work completed on May 27. (Open meeting)
May 28: Subcommittee report to Full Appropriations Chairs (not an open meeting)
June 1, 2, 3: All the budget subcommittees continue to report to the Full Chairs (not open meetings)
June 4, 5: Subcommittees vote on their final report ( open meetings)
June 6 – June 14: Full Appropriations Chairs review all subcommittee reports – they can change anything they want coming out of the subcommittee reports.
June 15: House Full Appropriations Committee (to vote on the House budget)
June 18: House passes the budget bill – 2nd and 3rd reading
June 19: Conferees appointed (to negotiate with the Senate to come out with a final budget for the state)
June 30: Conference Report Adopted (the House and Senate conferees agree to a final budget the last day of the fiscal year.

Action Needed: Contact members of the House HHS subcommittee all this week. Ask that cuts be made fairly. Be specific about the DCD programs of importance to your community.

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1 Comment

Filed under Child Care, Early Childhood, Legislative and Governmental, Uncategorized

One response to “NC House Discussing Early Childhood Cuts Today

  1. This is a letter to the editor of our local newspapers from the Board Chair of Avery County Smart Start, A Partnership For Children, Inc.

    Dear Representative Insko,
    As Co-Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Health and Human Services I am aware of the monumental task in front of you as you continue the process of preparing the North Carolina State Budget. Thank you for your work for the people of North Carolina.

    I am the current Chair of the Avery County Smart Start – A Partnership for Children. Our board is eager and committed to providing needed and appropriate services to and for the children and families of Avery County. The work we began in 1994 has evolved into programs of excellence, administered by a two person staff of exceptional ability, productivity, and energetic work ethic.

    The Avery Board realizes changes must occur. We ask that the changes be administered fairly and evenly in the state of North Carolina. The children under the age of five years in Avery County have seen growth and expansion of quality services in direct response to many different Smart Start initiatives, WAGE$, More at Four, and the Star Rating System for child care centers. The present reality of the quantity of high quality programs is the result of hard work for young children. Smart Start and More at Four are educational program that can best be administered by educational administrators.

    I ask you to please be fair in your cuts to the vital programs for children and families in North Carolina. Thank you for your work and energy for all North Carolinians Susan T. Carter

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