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Editorial: Legislators should tap huge rainy day fund to speed Hurricane Flo recovery

September 21, 2018

CBC Editorial: Friday, Sept. 21, 2018; Editorial #8342 The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company

President Donald Trump visited eastern North Carolina earlier this week to witness the damage from Hurricane Florence. He was hosted by Gov. Roy Cooper to view the devastation to homes, roads, businesses and community infrastructure. We appreciated the President’s visit.

Gov. Roy Cooper is focused on his goal to get federal support as quickly as possible to repair the damage from Florence and develop mitigation plans to reduce the dangers from future hurricanes. He was direct in his conversations with the president.

“After the cameras leave, after the hot-white focus leaves this area, people will still have flooded homes and people will have businesses that aren’t started up and roads will still be closed and damaged,” Cooper reminded reporters and dignitaries at a news briefing. “We’re going to need significant resources to recover and I emphasized that to him over and over again. He promised 100 percent support and we’re going to hold them to it.”

But Cooper isn’t merely going to wait on the federal government. He announced Thursday he’ll call the General Assembly into to special session in a little more than two weeks to provide funds to get a swift start to recover from what he terms the historic destruction in eastern North Carolina.

Cooper said his administration would work with other state agencies, local governments and community-based organizations to develop a request to the legislature. Additionally, he’s working with the state’s congressional delegation to detail the assistance needed from the federal government.

The truth is that North Carolina has the resources to meet the immediate recovery needs – and address broader policies and needs including effective alternatives to massive hog and poultry waste lagoons that have overflowed in the storm dumping millions of gallons of raw manure into streams and rivers.

Legislators boast that the state’s rainy day fund has more than $2 billion dollars in it – along with another $650 million in unspent money from the 2017-18 budget. There is no better time to tap some of those funds than now. Hurricane Flo was a rainy day if there ever was one.

Be sure, voters will be watching to see if the legislature chooses to play partisan political games or works diligently with the governor to address the dire needs of suffering citizens. The special session comes almost exactly a month before Election Day 2018.

See you at the polls.

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