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How do state budget cuts impact where you live?

Jeremy Sprinkle
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Find out what's on the chopping block

Our friends at Together NC have pulled together On the Chopping Block, a new clearinghouse that provides statewide and regional information about the economy and the impact of budget cuts:

On the Chopping Block is meant to capture the full effect of these budget decisions on the Tar Heel state and its people, from the mountains to the sea. The information collected here and updated regularly—as reported by citizens, newspapers, blogs, and state agencies—offers a localized look at how budget cuts are playing out in each region of North Carolina.

North Carolina has a jobs shortfall of 515,000. That's how many jobs need to be created to return to pre-recession employment levels. While the official unemployment rate stands at a 10.5%, the underemployment rate - a better measure of joblessness because it includes folks who've given up finding a job or have to work part-time - is at 17.9%.

Unfortunately the state budget cuts adopted over the Governors' veto by our Republican-controlled General Assembly are making our jobs crisis even worse and doing so in every region of our state.

On the Chopping Block includes a map of North Carolina divided into seven regions. Click on a region for stats and reports specific to that area.

For example, Southeast North Carolina currently has a 10.8% unemployment rate, "the highest among the states' 7 economic development regions," says Together NC. The 4,261 projected job losses in the Southeast by 2013 will contribute to more poverty there. In this region, Robeson County has the highest poverty rate with 9 out of every 20 children living in poverty along with almost 1 in 3 adults. In fact, poverty is on the rise across America.

In the Piedmont Triad, over 7 thousand jobs will be lost by 2013, including 222 jobs at Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools, which, along with every other school district in the state, was forced to absorb the loss of millions of dollars in state funding.

In Western NC, over 300 K-12 teacher positions have been eliminated, among 1,658 school-related jobs slashed in this region with a 9.9% unemployment rate.

In Charlotte, students at UNC-Charlotte are getting anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 less in financial aid thanks to an $8.5 million cut imposed by the legislature. “I’ve never seen financial aid cut so dramatically in 23 years of being involved with it,” says student financial aid director Tony Carter.

It didn't have to be this way, says Together NC:

These cuts were not inevitable but a choice. By maintaining the temporary tax package, which included the penny sales tax and a surcharge on high-income earners, or looking at reform-minded revenue, lawmakers could have avoided many of these deep and wide-ranging cuts.