From the office of State Rep. Jonathan Jordan:
As on-going budget negotiations have continued here in Raleigh, well past what we all hoped could have been completed by July 1, I wanted to take a moment and update you on our progress.
During this time I, along with many other House Republicans, have been fighting hard for the proposed funding amounts of more than $278 million for Teaching Assistants that were in our original biennial House proposal. Of course, we have been strongly supporting our other budget items as well.
Be assured, I am a firm believer in the importance of Teaching Assistants and our House budget proposed continued full funding for all current TA positions. Many of us in the legislature know the significant heavy lifting our Teaching Assistants do for our schools, and we appreciate what they accomplish.
Here in Raleigh we have stayed the extra two months holding fast to that position. Now it appears that the log jam is breaking. I am happy to say that I believe we are close to gaining our position, as the Senate seems to have made significant changes in our direction on TA funding; however, there are no guarantees until the final budget vote is cast. (I feel compelled to make that cautionary disclosure because the Senate position can change rapidly, much like a summer storm.)
This is a tremendous achievement, because, as you may remember, the Senate’s original budget proposal for the biennium was for cuts of $223.5 million in TA funding. I want to thank all of you, my constituents, for your patience and support during this untimely budget process. I also have been frustrated, as I know many of you have been.
It’s not a pleasant situation to be away from my family this long, week after week, and I know it’s been hard for our state and our educators to not have a final budget in place, but it seems that we will succeed in gaining this key budget item through this strategy.
Through multiple confidential meetings over the past two months, we have been able to advocate for our House budget position. Hopefully the result will be to retain full funding for Teaching Assistants, despite the Senate’s strong opposition.
I realize that many may hold a certain view of Raleigh and what the General Assembly does down here, but it is my hope that our budget results will be able to speak for themselves. Our final budget, although containing serious compromises with the Senate as a necessity to gain that chamber’s positive vote, should show you that I have been tirelessly advocating for you all.
In addition, I have been drafting changes to three current bills, preparing resolutions to honor West Jefferson and former NC Rep. Gene Wilson, and preparing new language to help address asphalt plant issues.
And there are always constituent issues that come in to the office, many of which must remain confidential as I strongly protect the personal information of those individual citizens who have issues with the Dept. of Revenue, the Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources, or the Dept. of Health and Human Services.
Thank you again for your kind support and patience as we wrap up this very long session. If there is anything I can do to help you, please do not hesitate to contact my office in Raleigh (919-733-7727) or in Jefferson (336-846-1657).
Warm regards, Jonathan C. Jordan