Our View: Short-term solution may not be right

Dec. 19, 2012 @ 09:32 AM

On Tuesday, North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue proposed her solution to the situation regarding group home funding.

Her solution: moving $1 million around to keep about 1,400 mentally ill residents of the state's group homes from becoming homeless ... for a month.

The issue is language within the state's budget that does not allow $39,7 million to be used by group homes. That means, come Jan. 1, 2013, if something wasn't done, those 1,400 residents would be homeless.

Now, on one hand, the solution suggested by Perdue does fix the situation.

However, it certainly does not give group homes any room to breathe easy as Perdue has, essentially, put things back on Gov.-elect Pat McCrory and the General Assembly to come up with a long-term solution when they convene for the long session in January.

North Carolina Health and Human Services Secretary Al Delia told The Associated Press that the temporary solution requires "the Legislature act quickly when they reconvene."

The problem is that the General Assembly has only planned a one-day organizing meeting on Jan. 9 before it returns to work on Jan. 30.

That leaves little time for state lawmakers to close the funding gap.

And, Perdue said that the General Assembly and McCrory could "then figure out a longer-term fix."

We realize that there is just weeks left in Perdue's term as governor.

However, House Speaker Thom Tillis had proposed calling the General Assembly back for a short session in December to fix the problem, once and for all.

Perdue, however, balked at that proposal and, instead, decided to use her authority as governor to react to "unforeseen circumstances" to move the $1 million around and stave off the threat.

But, to us, regardless of how much is left on the term of the state's highest elected official, the leadership doesn't end just because a new person takes over in a few weeks.

This funding issue is a problem and the solution proposed by Perdue just puts a weak band-aid on it.

It is the job of a leader to bring the necessary parties together and find a solution. If, for nothing else, to give the 1,400 residents of the state that will be affected by the funding gap some peace of mind in knowing that they won't have to seek shelter elsewhere in January if the General Assembly can't find a solution in the allotted time.

While we are glad that those living in the affected group homes have a temporary solution to the problem, we are disappointed in the lackluster action taken by Perdue in this matter.

Quite simply, more should have been done and it was Perdue's responsibility to ensure that it was done.

By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board

 

The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Tom Padgett, Dr. Shermaine Surratt and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark