From staff reports
The Winston County Republican Women recently hosted Senator Giles Ward as their guest speaker in the Novemeber meeting.
Senator Ward enlightened the women on the state’s budget plan for this year.
Ward said, “Nothing in my job is more important than being a good steward of your tax dollars.”
On the heels of that message, Ward outlined how much of the state raised from the 7 percent sales tax and how the state would spend the $5 billion budgeted for the fiscal 2014 year.
Ward noted that sales tax dollars brought in 38.30 percent of the the state’s budgeted revenues with income tax at 32.84 percent and the other percentages coming in from various sources.
In the budget spending, Ward noted that education was the biggest single expense.
“It is our most important responsibility and we have been diligent as we can with the funding,” said Ward.
Education spending takes up 56.56 percen of the budget at $2.8 billion.
The next closest item in the budget spending is the Medicaid or social welfare line item at 14.68 percent of the budget which $737 million.
The next item is the state’s debt service at $375 million or 7.47 percent of the budget.
Corrections or prisons came in next at $334 million or 6.66 percent of the budget.
“We are going to have to figure at who we are mad at and who we are afraid of to correct this part of the budet,” said Ward.
He noted that the rising cost of incarceration had to be addressed.
Mental Health costs in the state also had to be addressed and costs the state presently $216 million or 4.3 percent of the budget.
Public Safety and the highway patrol came in at 1.77 percent or about $88 million.
Ward covered the full scale of the budget all the way down to the .03 percent of miscellous expenses covered such as voter id litigation.
Ward also encouraged the club to continue its work on election issues.
Ward stated that there has never been a time where individuals were more needed to serve in leadership positions for grassroots campaining.
He encouraged the women that they needed everyone involved in the elections because thecountry is in a crisis.