Pricey Harrison

Friday, August 12, 2005

Highlights Of The Spending Plan

The budget provides $9.48 billion for education, which is a 2.73% or $250 million increase over last year's education budget. The budget funds education at our state's K-12 schools, community colleges and universities, including additional funding to cover the more than 35,000 new students who will show up at our schools in a few weeks for the new school year. Legislators dedicated close to $80 million to address the on-going Leandro school funding lawsuit, which will provide additional funding to low wealth schools districts, disadvantaged students, high school reforms, school-based family support teams, and teacher recruitment. The budget includes $100 million for ABC bonuses for teachers, in addition to a pay raise of approximately 2.24%, and fully funds teacher assistant positions. More than $3.2 million is provided to expand Governor Mike Easley's "Learn and Earn" program, which allows students the opportunity to graduate with a high school diploma and a college degree after just five years of study. And, if the Senate passes the House lottery bill, funding from the proceeds would be invested in school construction, early childhood education, and college scholarships.

The budget provides more than $4 billion in funding for health care for children, folks who are blind, disabled or elderly, and restores many of the previously proposed cuts in the original Senate budget. Legislators provided funding to ensure 65,000 aged, blind and disabled North Carolinians and 30,000 children will continue to be covered by Medicaid. Children ages 0-5 currently covered by Health Choice will be moved to Medicaid, which will bring the total projected enrollment to approximately 200,000 children over the next three years. The North Carolina Senior Care prescription drug program, which currently covers 120,000 seniors, will receive $10 million. Approximately 3,200 additional children will be enrolled in the state's More at Four pre-kindergarten program. The budget also includes $10 million for the Mental Health Trust Fund and slightly more than $981,000 to hire new inspectors to ensure compliance with the new requirement that all group homes across the state must be inspected annually.

Public school teachers will receive an average 2.24% salary increase. The budget also sets aside additional funding that could be used by the Governor, after consultation with the Legislature, to raise teacher salaries closer to the national average. Community college faculty and professional staff would receive an additional 2% pay raise. State employees will receive a pay raise of 2% or $850, whichever is greater, and an additional week of paid vacation. Legislators also raised the minimum wage requirement for all state employees to at least $20,112.

The budget makes numerous investments in job creation efforts and provides much-needed funding for programs that help attract new jobs to North Carolina, including: 1) $4.5 million in additional funds for the Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) program, which since 2003 has helped create more than 10,000 new jobs and $1.9 billion in investment; 2) $6 million for the One North Carolina Fund, which since 2001 has helped create more than 17,000 new jobs and $2 billion in investment; and 3) $20 million for the North Carolina Rural Center, which has helped create thousands of new jobs in rural communities and update water systems.

The budget also includes $9 million for the Wilmington and Morehead City ports, $1 million in new funds for community college Small Business Centers, and $2.65 million for customized industry training, which will help employees and companies remain competitive in an ever-changing economy.

The budget provides more than $1.7 billion in funding for public safety programs including efforts to reduce gang violence, meth labs and internet/computer security crimes across our state, and additional funding for our state's SBI crime lab's ability to effectively process DNA evidence and keep track of the evidence in the state's DNA database.

The House approved a separate lottery bill in April, which must pass the Senate in order to create the numbers game in North Carolina. The budget made several changes to the way future lottery proceeds would be used to fund education programs in our state, including:
1. 5% of revenues off the top would be placed in the "Education Lottery Reserve Fund," which could be tapped if lottery profits do not meet expectations in a bad year. The reserve would be capped at $50 million.
2. Of the remaining funds: 50% would go toward early childhood initiatives (More at Four pre-kindergarten program; class-size reduction, Leandro/low-wealth school districts); 40% would be used for public school construction; and the remaining 10% for scholarships for financially needy community college and university students. The school construction funds would be allocated in the following way - 65% according to ADM and 35% to counties that have property taxes that exceed the state average (see chart for county funding levels). Any "overage" in the expected annual lottery proceeds would be split evenly between scholarships and school construction.

With regard to the operations of a lottery, advertising would be extremely limited, with a cap on advertising of 1% or less of total proceeds, and ads could not target minors or specific groups, must include resources for responsible gaming, and must mention the odds of winning. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, North Carolina would have the strictest lottery advertising restrictions in the nation.

The Lottery Commission would also be required to provide information to the public about gambling addiction and treatment. $1 million per year for such addiction education and treatment would be available.

Legislators had hoped that the economy would recover so the temporary taxes that were passed in 2001 at the height of the recession could end. However, budget writers decided this revenue is needed for the next biennium to continue the funding level for education and health care programs. The budget calls for maintaining for this biennium the current half cent sales tax, as well as the tax on the wealthiest individuals in our state who make over $120,000 per year.

The cigarette tax will increase from its current level of 5 cents per pack, which is the lowest in the nation, to 35 cents by next July. This would occur in two phases: the tax would increase by 25 cents on September 1, 2005 and by another 5 cents on July 1, 2006. This increase represents a compromise between the House and Senate budget proposals on the cigarette tax and is much less than the Governor's request for a 45-cent increase.

Candy, satellite, telephone, satellite radio, and liquor will be taxed at 7%. (Liquor is currently taxed at 6%, satellite at 5%, phone service at 6%, and candy was previously exempted.) Cable will be taxed at 7%, with a credit for local franchise tax paid (5%). The entertainment/movie tax will remain the same and not increase. The tax on HMOs will increase to 1.9% in an effort to equalize similar taxes.

The budget also includes a tax credit for film companies in an effort to increase the number of films, televisions shows and commercials shot in North Carolina.

The complete budget (Senate Bill 622, proposed Conference Committee Substitute) can be found on the N.C. General Assembly's website at:

Guilford County Budget Items

NC A&T Matching Funds, $1,089,000
Focused Growth Campus Funds, $146,428
NC A&T Arts Center Planning Funds, $25,000
Black Child Development Institute of Greensboro, $10,000
Greensboro Lifeskills Center, $10,000
Carl Chavis YMCA of High Point, $13,000
Faith Matters, $5,000
Funds for a new Heritage Tourism Officer for the Piedmont-Triad area
United Arts Council of Greensboro, $25,000
African-American Atelier, $12,000
Guilford NAA Cultural Funds, $10,000
Triad Stage, $125,000
Greensboro Symphony Society, $50,000
ACC Hall of Champions, $2 million
Sit-in Movement - renovation funds for Museum, $500,000
Salary increases for employees of NCSU and NC A&T, $4 million
Funds to promote NC furniture industry including the International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, $750,000


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At 5:58 AM, Blogger hypnosis said...

Visualization is a tool that has been used for thousands of years by initiates of all the metaphysical schools. Today, it is incorporated into top athlete's daily routines and is used in business affairs frequently. It's use is wide-spread among highly successful people, either consciously or unconsciously, aware of its create power. So if it has stood the test of time and is still being used by high achievers we must come to the conclusion that it works! But has it ever worked for you?

If you answered 'yes' to the above question then you know how powerful this technique can be. If, on the other hand, you gave the more likely answer 'no' then take heart for I am about to reveal to you a sure fire way of reaching your objectives through this mostly misunderstood art.

The trouble with visualization is simple - its in its name!

When studying and contemplating the art of visualization most people have the impression that they must create visual images and make them real or life-like. Many people, in fact the majority, find this almost impossible to do. Even if they can formulate a solid picture of their objective they find it extremely difficult to sustain the image for any length of time. Either the image fades, changes or other intruding thoughts intervene.

This type of visualization is almost impossible to sustain and luckily it is not at all necessary. Why? Because it is in the subconscious mind that your visualization needs to be placed and there is good news. The subconscious mind does not know the difference between an imaginary event and a real one. Your visual image only needs to be a strong visually as any other imagined event. However, that is only half the story.

If all you had to do was just imagine stuff and your world automatically changed to reflect your imaginings this world would be full of chaos (not to mention all those creepy crawly bug-eyed monsters!). Therefore, there are a few more steps to complete before the visualization is passed to the subconscious for manifestation.

Let's try a little experiment. Remember a scene from your past that has a lot of good feelings around it. Any good memory will do, like the first time you heard the words "I love you" from your partner, an amazingly spectacular sunset, a great holiday event or your last birthday. Pick one and remember it. How clear is the image? Can you remember any sounds? What way did you feel? Is there any sense of touch, taste or smell? Identify how your memory works. Is it mostly visual, auditory, kinaesthetic or of a feeling nature?

Now we are going to create an imagined event in our lives that has the same strength and potency as that image. So relax and let's go.

Imagine something that you do everyday, something that you did yesterday, today and will do tomorrow. Let us take the example of waking up tomorrow morning. Don't try to add or take anything away, just think about it and analyse the scene. Is it dark or light? Are you lying next to someone in bed? Do you still feel tired? Has the alarm clock sounded? Are you irritable that you have to get up or full of joy at the dawn of a new day?

You will find that the imagined event is very similar to the memory with probably one key difference - your point of perspective. Is the memory behind you and the future event in front of you? Is one to the left and one to the right? Maybe they are both in front of you or the future seems to move in a clockwise direction. Whatever the perspective the thing to notice is that they are very similar in appearance.

Now imagine doing your future event a week from now, then a month from now, then six months from now. Where are those images placed? Are they moving further away, going clockwise, from left to right? This is your time-line and using it is important in visualization as you will see later.

Ok, let's imagine something that is very unlikely to happen and see where it differs from the last image.

Imagine you are sitting somewhere familiar which is extremely comfortable and relaxing to you. Now imagine that a person you know well comes up to where you are and says "hello". Imagine them telling you that they want to show you a new trick. All of a sudden they have three juggling balls. They throw them in the air and begin to juggle with ease. Then they begin to whistle one of your favourite tunes. You suddenly realize that there is a strong smell of flowers in the room and notice a vase of them just behind the juggler. Imagine laughing loudly at the scene and feeling joyful at the experience. Then the person juggling leans forward stands on leg and puts the other leg outstretched behind them. All the while still juggling and whistling. Then they begin to hop on their leg as a small bird flies over to perch on their head. Once you have the imagined event and stayed with it a few moments just let it fade.

Ok open your eyes. What was the difference between the two images? Can you spot any? Did you use more, less or roughly the same senses in your fantasy event as you did in the future one? Did you see them from different angles? Was the picture bigger in one than the other? Was the sound clearer, the feelings more acute or the smell stronger? Take some time and go back to each scene in your mind. How does the future event differ from the fantasy one? Are you looking at both from a different vantage point? Do you see yourself in the image of one but not the other? Analyse the scenes and see where they differ.

Have you identified how the future event differs from the fantasy one? If you have then its time to make visualization work for you! Take a goal that you have been working on or would like to achieve. Nothing too far-fetched at this point please! Pick something that is possible but at the moment seems a little impractical. Once you have it form a mental image of what it would be like to have, be or do that thing or be in that experience. Remember to form it the same way you do a memory. Give it the same strength visually, in sound, feeling, taste and touch - use your mind in its natural state. All you have to do is imagine the scene.

Ok how does it differ from the scene of waking in the morning? Can you identify the differences in perspective, sound, taste, touch, feelings and what you hear?

Now there will be one other key thing that differs in the images- it is very simple but often overlooked. You know that the future event is going to happen! This is reflected in the way we experience the image. So what we are going to do is fool your subconscious mind into thinking your goal is definitely going to happen by manipulating your goal image!

Once you know what the differences are in each image begin to change the goal image so that it is seen the same way as the future event in your imagination. Place the visualized scene in exactly the same position with the same perspective as your future event.

Place it in the correct position on your time-line. You may already begin to feel that the goal is more possible. Visualise in this way everyday and you will condition your subconscious mind to manifest the experiences necessary to make your goal attainment certain.

One more thing to remember: During the day think about your goal often. This reinforces the visualization and will begin to dispel doubt from your mind. personal development

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The personal development industry has never been bigger! It consists of a myriad of authors basically telling us how to improve our lives. We are constantly being told self help and self improvement has never been easier. New techniques, gadgets and potions adorn the shelves of new age shops and the 1 billion dollar industry, that is personal development, offers many different approaches to help better our lives. They offer ways to increase our bounty and ultimately alter our own reality. A great example of this is how to develop a Prosperity Consciousness. But does this state really exist and if it does will it bring the effortless unlimited wealth promised?
A lot has been written about prosperity and how to attain it. We have been told by many religious traditions and every personal development guru that the Universersal Source (God, Spirit, Cosmic Mind or whatever label you chose to give it) is boundless wealth. We are also told that abundance, wealth and prosperity are our birthright! Why then are so many people ill, broke, frustrated and unfulfilled? Can a person really develop a prosperity consciousness and effortlessly attract wealth? Well as with everything in life there is only one way to find out. Test it for yourself!

Before we can attain and then test the effectiveness of having a prosperity consciousness we need to understand some basic truths. Let's start by explaining three fundamentals of personal development namely; 1. The Universal Source is all wealth, abundance and prosperity; 2. Prosperity is our birthright; 3. You get more of what you focus on.

1. Why are we told that the Universal Source is unlimited wealth? - Because the Universal Source is the consciousness of the Universe - a universe that is still expanding. It is the driving force behind physical reality. It created everything you see, hear, touch and smell as well as all that we are unaware of (microwaves, radiation, air etc.). It has been stated in religious and metaphysical traditions that this intelligence is not only the Source of everything but that it is also the substance of it! It creates the Universe from itself! It is omnipresent (everywhere present). That means that the entire seen and unseen aspects of the universe are a part of this Universal Source. Science reaffirms this theory as it states that nothing is solid and everything is just one mass of pure energy that vibrates at different frequencies and gives the illusion of separateness.
So we can now claim that the Universal Source is unlimited wealth, abundance and prosperity with some belief. For if this Source is the very substance of everything then it is all the wealth, abundance and prosperity that exists at this very moment!
Ok so far? Now lets look at the second point - prosperity is our birthright.

2. If this Universal Intelligence is the source and substance of all things then there can be only one intelligence in the Universe. Jesus said to his disciples "know ye not that you are the temple of the living God?" Buddha attained enlightenment and "oneness". The list of these religious teachings are too numerous to mention but their message remains the same - God (Universal Substance) resides within and around us. It's very substance makes up our physical body and the world around us - "For in him we live, move and have our being" Acts17:28. Therefore, if this Universal Source is at the very core of our being and is the substance from which we take physical form then it stands to reason that we are connected to everyone else and in fact everything else around us - we are a part of all the wealth, abundance and prosperity of the universe. Just as your hand or foot is a part of your body, so every grain of sand, blade of grass, wisp of wind, bar of gold and brick that is laid in a mansion is part of you. The unlimited wealth of the universe is yours for the claiming. It is already yours, always has been and always will be. It is a part of you.
Ok let's go the third point - you get more of what you focus on.

3. "It never rains but it pours", is a saying I have used myself in the past. Have you ever wondered why such a statement appears to be true? Well metaphysics and religion tell us that "as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he" or as Job cried out to God "For that which I greatly feared has come upon me". What we focus our conscious attention on increases! Don't believe me? Test it for yourself! If you can muster up the strength to do it then think in negative terms for a week. Judge everything that happens to you in negative terms and think only of a negative outcome and watch what happens in your world!!! This is a relatively easy experiment as we are conditioned to think negatively by the world. A word of warning though - once you prove that your focus determines your reality stop thinking negative thoughts as best you can.
I will not go into the 'hows' of why our focus has such a profound influence on our lives (that would be the subject of a book or perhaps a future article) just prove to yourself that it does. A clue can be found in the teachings of Jesus when he said "The Kingdom of heaven is within".
So now we have the three principles of the prosperity consciousness explained let's put it to work. The attainment of a prosperity consciousness is relatively simple - just think on the first two principles until you fully understand them and integrate them into your consciousness. As you focus on them you will discover that your feelings of lack disappear and you begin to feel a connection with everything around you. It is really just an attitude shift - nothing metaphysical or mystical about it at all. You begin to consciously realize that everything is a part of you. Your focus changes from poverty to wealth.
If it helps make a list of affirmations that correspond to the two principles outlined e.g. "God is the Source and substance of everything", "I am at one with everyone and everything around me", "I am a part of all the wealth, abundance and prosperity of the Universe" etc. Don't just rhyme them off in a parrot like manner, think on them and realize the scientific or spiritual truths behind them.

Will it work? Well I can say now that if you follow the above instructions a real change will happen in you. You will start to see the beauty of the world and the unlimited resources that are available within and around you. Will you attain wealth, abundance and prosperity? Test it for yourself!

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