Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Jones' budget a strong opener

Mecklenburg County Manager Harry Jones is on target with the budget he'll propose tonight. After years of cutting, Jones proposes reinvesting in essential public services, including education and libraries. That's vital to this community.

Jones' budget for 2011-12 won't make everyone happy, and county commissioners will debate it and change it in coming weeks. But Jones frames that debate the right way by giving Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools $26 million more than the county gave this year. That still leaves CMS receiving about $23 million less from the county than it did in 2008-2009. That despite the fact that CMS now serves more students, and more poor ones, in more schools than it did that year. With the state legislature poised to impose significant cuts on K-12 spending, CMS will still have to cut tens of millions of dollars from its budget.

Jones also reportedly proposes giving the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library system an additional $2.3 million. After drastic cuts last year, it's good to see Jones help the libraries. This should allow the library system to avoid closing several branches.

About three out of five taxpayers will pay more in taxes under Jones' proposal. But about two in five won't. And for those who do, tax cuts coming from the state should help cushion the blow.

The state, by the way, is driving a majority of the cuts at CMS. If legislators would agree to keep the one-cent sales tax that's scheduled to roll off, they would have more than $1 billion to spend on education and other needs.

-- Posted by the Observer editorial board

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EZRiderNC said...
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