Sunday sampler, budget edition

Asheville: The Citizen-Times attempts to school state legislators who believe that trickle-down economics is voodoo economics, as President George H.W. Bush famously said. But that’s well-known by anyone who follows politics. (Well, well-known by those who aren’t conservative legislators.) More interesting to me is the accompanying story that puts the lie to the idea that the state legislature has restored funding to the public schools. “State figures show that after the effects of inflation are taken into account, North Carolina’s per-pupil spending on schools fell by 9.2 percent from 2007-08 to 2015-16.” And teachers and students feel it the most.

Charlotte: A prison sergeant was killed by an inmate at Bertie Correctional last month, and her mother points out the need for more guards. “State figures show that roughly one of every five correctional officer positions at the eastern North Carolina prison was vacant last month. Statewide, about 16 percent of officer positions are vacant, an Observer story showed…. To attract more officers to the profession, state leaders need to increase pay, she said. Officers at maximum security prisons earn an average of about $35,000 annually.”

Greensboro: And while we’re at it, the News & Record details salaries for police officers, which, frankly, also seem low for those on the thin blue line. “The current starting salary for police officers in Greensboro is $35,556 a year— less than in High Point ($36,585), Durham ($37,029), Raleigh ($38,834) and Charlotte ($42,640).” (For context, Sen. Phil Berger employs four staff members who each make more than $100,000. That’s me being snarky, not the News & Record.)

Greensboro: For Memorial Day, the N&R also has a fine, non-budget story about a lawyer who saved the flag from his Swift Boat in Vietnam. “At first, I kept it as a memento,” said Barron, who was just in his mid-20s when he patrolled the waters around Vietnam in the 50-foot heavily armed craft tasked with shutting off supplies and other traffic from enemy forces. I realized after a while that it’s a lot more.” Yes, it was.

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