The John Locke Foundation is trying to use a technical report from the NC Office of State Budget and Management to claim that state budget wasn't as bad as people thought. They claim only 1,629 state jobs were lost. "Not 20,000 or 30,000, as Gov. Bev Perdue and other Democrats (and liberal advocacy groups) claimed," writes Rick Henderson of the Carolina Journal.
Thom Tillis has made the same argument during his town hall tour.
This argument is inaccurate and misleading.
First, estimates of 20,000 jobs lost were made BEFORE a compromise budget that secured the votes of five House Democrats. That compromise restored 13,000 teaching assistant positions.
Job loss estimates of the final budget were in the neighborhood of 12,000.
So where's the disconnect? Conservatives only want to focus on layoffs, while others are talking about total jobs - filled and unfilled positions. Total jobs lost add up to over 10,000 in education alone:
- 6,383 in K-12
- 814 in community colleges
- 223 in Smart Start
- 4519 in the UNC System
- Plus more from non-education state government
So what's the point of bickering over the numbers? First of all, conservatives continue to deny the true impact of their state budget and we shouldn't let them get away with it.
Second, positions lost is very important. For a parent, it doesn't matter if a teaching position eliminated was filled or unfilled. Either way it means larger class sizes for their children. For a college students, filled or unfilled positions eliminated mean fewer course offerings. And for the hundreds of thousands of unemployed in North Carolina, eliminated unfilled positions are lost opportunities to find a job.