Ex-senator wants Rainy Day Fund tapped for Hurricane Matthew

To the Editor,

I have been very disappointed that the NC Legislature has not appropriated enough money for Hurricane Matthew recovery. Eighteen years ago when Hurricane Floyd hit our state, the Legislature held a special session in December of that year and appropriated $894 million for hurricane relief. Last year we were called back in December for a hurricane session but the Republican leadership limited the amount in the bill to $200 million and would not allow any amendments to increase that amount. When that bill passed we were immediately gaveled back into another session to strip powers from the incoming new governor. It became obvious that the “hurricane” session was just a ruse for the session to limit the governor’s powers.

The state has a Rainy Day Fund for just such emergencies. Last December the fund had $1.4 billion in it. Hurricane Matthew devastated our state and was arguably worse than Floyd, yet the Legislature has still not appropriated the necessary funds to help our citizens and counties that suffered from the hurricane. The budget passed this summer only added $100 million for hurricane relief. Hurricane Matthew certainly qualifies as a “rainy day.” I cannot understand why the fund has not been used to help our citizens. Our legislators should be ashamed for not using money already set aside for natural disasters and emergencies to make our state whole after the hurricane. Our people are still suffering and need the state’s help.

Jane Smith

Former District 13 senator