The Good Book says, “Ask and ye shall receive,” but the message that the local delegation of state legislators gives to the Guilford County Board of Commissioners isn’t quite so straightforward.
It’s more like, “Ask, and, if you’re lucky and the state can find the funds, you just might receive some of what you ask for.”
On Friday morning, April 29, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners will get the chance to ask away in front of state legislators who represent Guilford County in Raleigh. The official purpose of the meeting is “to discuss upcoming legislative goals” – which can be read as: to discuss things the state can do to make life easier for county governments.
The meeting will take place over breakfast Friday in the John McAdoo Conference Room on the third floor of the county-owned BB&T Building, which, by the way officially just became the “Truist Building.”
This breakfast “gathering,” as the county is calling it, is just one part of an involved process whereby counties across the state individually ask the NC General Assembly for legislative moves that help further their goals.
Those requests can involve financial help for counties, a relaxation of regulations in state law, or other changes in the law. For instance, lately, Guilford County has been asking the state to change the law to allow sales tax increase referendums that go on the ballot to include wording that defines how the proceeds will be used. Guilford County commissions have said that will make it easier for a sales tax hike to get approval from voters.
One common request from Guilford County through the years has been for the state to start covering the cost of various “unfunded mandates”– that is, cover the cost when a new law inflicts a financial burden on a county government but provides no additional funding to help cover those costs.
Here’s something else that could come up Friday morning: About four years ago, Guilford County felt as though the state had committed to paying $7 million for a $20 million-plus new behavioral health center that Guilford County built. County officials would still like to see that money – and, as they say, there’s no harm in asking.
Can only hope the state is wiser on finances than this county is.
I will be sending a message to my wimpy state legislator to say, “No”, but he thinks his approval will get him votes. Just not my vote.