Approve the budget

North Carolinians have felt much anxiety because of the lack of a final state budget for 2019-21. This responsibility is one of our primary roles as a governing body. North Carolina is one of fewer than three states nationwide that does not have an approved budget.

The proposed 2019-21 budget was carefully negotiated, including with feedback from the Governor’s Office and Gov. Roy Cooper’s budget staff. Like any budget, spending items were carefully debated. Some were included while others did not make it into the final plan. The $24 billion state budget was approved in a bipartisan vote of our members. This budget is a good plan and economically feasible. Highlights include:

  • $1.43 billion in education funding
  • 3.9% teacher raise over the biennium (the sixth consecutive raise for teachers)
  • state employee raises of 5% over the biennium
  • $711 million to the Rainy Day Fund for catastrophic events
  • 43 new state and local parks
  • $39 million new funding to the Clean Water Management Trust Fund
  • $4.4 billion for statewide school construction (Winston-Salem/Forsyth County schools receives $24.1 million)
  • $150 million for rural broadband
  • standard tax deduction increase from $20,000 to $21,000 (up $15,000 since 2013)

It is time for the governor to stop holding up the entire budget for one single policy issue. Let’s have a separate session dedicated solely to an honest and transparent debate on the health care challenges in North Carolina. Let’s approve this sound budget and move forward.

Donny Lambeth

Winston-Salem

Lambeth is an N.C. House representative for Forsyth County. — the editor

Less than great

Instead of making America great, President Trump and his Republican allies are making America unsafe, unhealthy and disrepected.

Trump’s rhetoric provokes anger. Mass shootings are on the rise in America and Trump blames it on mental health and video games. This country does not have a monopoly on mental health issues or video games, but we overwhelmingly lead the developed world in gun ownership and mass shootings. It is way too easy to obtain guns in this country, especially the types of weapons of war that are available.

Trump and the Republicans are so afraid of the NRA that they will not even consider something as simple as a universal background check bill.

Trump and the Republicans are making America unhealthy by turning the EPA into the Environmental Pollution Agency. Under Trump, the EPA has rolled back environmental regulations that govern air, water and greenhouse gas emissions. Flint, Mich., and Newark, N.J., have unsafe water. What city is next?

The effects of man-man climate change are clear to see. Trump is a climate change denier and Republicans agree or don’t care. Inaction is inexcusable.

Trump chumming up with authoritarian dictators and dissing our allies is causing the United States to be disrepected in the world. According to Gallup, the median approval rating by the rest of the world of U.S. leadership is 31%. This is the lowest level for any of the past three administrations.

Trump and every Republican who supports him need to be voted out in 2020.

Rudy Diamond

Lewisville

A civic responsibility

I can agree with only one line of Rep. Joyce Krawiec’s Aug. 29 letter “Women’s Empowerment.” “Now it’s our civic responsibility as women to Keep America Great!” The only way to do that is to vote President Trump out of office in 2020 before he destroys America.

“Civic” refers to citizenship or being a citizen. Trump has no respect for more than half of the United States’ citizens and he has shown that his whole adult life.

He is a serial sexual predator, as he admitted on videotape. He shows no respect for the institution of marriage — he had an affair with a future wife while married to his first wife. He allegedly had sexual encounters with women while married to his current wife. He tells four female American citizens of color to “go home” — three were born in the United States. He lies every day multiple times. Is that the behavior we want our children to learn and exhibit? He supported separating young children from their parents at the border, and his administration had no records to help reunite them.

I implore women (and men) to think seriously about the upcoming presidential election and vote Democratic.

Candace Culton

Winston-Salem

Which?

In her letter “Women’s empowerment” in the Aug. 29 Journal, state Sen. Joyce Krawiec states, “Under President Trump’s leadership, the U.S. economy is booming … .” On page A-11, the headline says, “Triad jobless rate stills at 6-month high.” Which is fake news?

Michael Newman

Winston-Salem

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