05/04/11 — Budget battle: The bottom line is either the money is there or it isn't

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Budget battle: The bottom line is either the money is there or it isn't

Nobody wants to see anybody lose his or her job.

In fact, if there were a way to balance the state's budget and to overcome the billions in debt without cutting somewhere, you can bet there would have been plenty of legislators suggesting it.

The truth is that North Carolina has gotten itself into trouble -- in part by pretending there was no deficit or recession curtailing revenues, and in part by accepting money from the federal government as a stop-gap measure without really thinking about the consequences.

Now, it is time to pay the piper.

It is a shame that the recovery has not meant fabulous wealth for states -- or individuals for that matter. We all would like to feel better about our financial futures.

But right now, making sure we get through the tough times responsibly and do not make the situation worse is exactly what our top priority needs to be -- and that means cutting back.

The state's proposed budget -- and the budgets that will be forthcoming from the city and county -- will include some cuts we would rather not see and some tough decisions that we expect our leaders to make.

Hopefully, by being fiscally responsible this year, we can have a little more wiggle room next year -- and in the years to come.

Balancing a state budget is much the same as managing a personal one -- you have to stay focused on the goal. And in this case, that means making the right decisions to keep us on solid financial footing.

Published in Editorials on May 4, 2011 11:05 AM