by YES! Staff

Welcome to the YES! Weekly Pop Quiz, where we ask politicians and public servants about their jobs. This week we address questions to members of Forsyth and Guilford counties’ state legislative delegations and candidates for those seats. The rules are simple: no research, no callbacks.

QUESTIONS 1. What is the estimated shortfall in State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees for Fiscal Year 2008-2009? 2. After what month does Executive Administrator Jack W. Walker say the State Health Plan will need an infusion of cash in order to continue paying claims? * 3. On what date do the full House and full Senate reconvene? (Seven-day margin of error allowed)

Sen. Pete Brunstetter,
Republican, Senate District 31 1. Part of the problem on that question is getting straight information. I have heard estimates of anywhere from $100 million to $800 million. In a committee meeting last week I heard $100 million to $200 million… I think it’s substantially higher than 264 million. [√-] 2. Oh gosh, he might have said December, I’m trying to remember. Truth is, it could have used an infusion of cash nine or ten months ago, or an adjustment. The legislature had a chance to do something about it before it adjourned, but declined to so. [√] 3. It better be Jan. 29. [√]

Republican Whip Bill McGee,
House District 75 1. The number has varied. When we were in session we first began to hear that it was somewhere in the neighborhood of $60 million. Then grew to $100 million-plus. Then, when we got home, it had gone from $100 million to $200 million. Now, the latest number I read is from $200 million to $300 million. The numbers keep going up. As member of Republican leadership, we proffered a plan, which would have reduced spending by 1 percent across the board. Of course it was rejected. Now I see that Mickey Michaux proposing spending less money. He is a member of the [Democratic] leadership in the House. I supported legislation, which the House passed, to take $100 million from the rainy-day fund to cover the shortfall. [√] 2. The answer that I have to give you is that I don’t know the specific date that he has established. The estimate among many of us is that the money will be gone before year’s end. The understanding is that checks are being held back on payment so that the monies would last longer. [√] 3. I believe the date is Jan. 28. Some of us believe that we will have to be called back into session after the election. Now, with Jack back in the seat, maybe we won’t need to. We go back into session on Jan. 28, and it takes a week to get the General Assembly moving to address the situation. You’re talking about February. [√]

Rep. Maggie Jeffus,
Democrat, House District 59 1. Oh, let me think. I think originally there was supposed to be about $60 million. I think that has increased to over $200 million, maybe $210 million. [√-] 2. I think it’s on up into the 2009 session. I want to say January, February. It might even be in March. The beginning of the 2009 session. Let me say March. [X] 3. I believe it’s Wednesday, Jan. 28 [√]

Jim Rumley, Republican
candidate for House District 59 1. I believe it was like $7 million. [X] 2. Uh, these are very specific questions. I kind of remember March of ’09. [X] 3. Seems like it was Feb. 2. [√]

Rep. Larry Brown,
Republican, House District 73 1. I really don’t think they have a good grasp on what it’s going to be. My guess is it’s going to be about $200 million. [√-] 2. I think we need the infusion now, but December is what they said. [√] 3. Jan. 28 [√]

ANSWERS 1. $264 million to $280 million (Source: NC State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees, Sept.25) 2. December (Source: NC State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees, Sept. 25) 3. Jan. 28, 2009 (Source: NC General Assembly website) * Member update from Executive Administrator Jack W. Walker: “Through very careful cash management practices, the State Health Plan should have the funds to continue paying claims into the first quarter of 2009. Based on this strategy, a special legislative session would not be required prior to the January 2009 long session.”