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News State / Region

MCN summarizes findings on a variety of topics.

Editor’s note: When referencing Western North Carolina or WNC, The Macon County News is including the following 21 counties: Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Swain, Macon, Jackson, Haywood, Transylvania, Henderson, Buncombe, Madison, Yancy, Mitchell, McDowell, Rutherford, Cleveland, Burke, Avery, Watauga, and Caldwell.

The research division of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners published a new “County Snapshots” summary last week which highlighted the demographic, social and educational statuses of all 100 counties in the state.

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By state statute, North Carolina was supposed to have a budget in place by July 1. After missing that deadline, state law makers extended the budget deadline to August. A continuing budget resolution was passed to allow the state to continue operating at current levels while the state Senate and House of Representatives nailed down a budget. By Aug. 12, no budget has been reached which prompted the state to once again continue the budget until Aug. 31, the longest the state has gone without a budget in 13 years.

Last week, the two chambers were able to agree on a maximum budget of $21.74 billion, which sits at $265 million more than the Senate proposed spending and $415 million less than the budget originally proposed by the House.

According to Macon County Commissioner Ronnie Beale, he is concerned with where the $400 million reduction will come from.

"Right now, we aren't sure where that money will come from," said Beale. “The most likely place will be teacher assistants, and that is just not something our local district or other schools in the state can handle."

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Commissioners meet in Pitt for 108th conference.

Beginning today, commissioners across the state will head to Pitt County North Carolina for the annual North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) Conference. While the conference has an extensive agenda planned, commissioners will pause from shaping the state's leadership to recognize Macon County Commissioner Ronnie Beale, who has served as the association's president for the last year.

“Ronnie has been a tremendous leader for counties," said Kevin Leonard, NCACC Executive Director. "He understands the statecounty partnership and has a knack for seeing controversial issues from all different perspectives. He is a consensus builder who wants to find solutions to problems and challenges that are facing counties. His great sense of humor keeps everybody focused on what is truly important."

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Drug manufacturer Amgen will pay North Carolina and 48 other states $71 million to resolve allegations that the company unlawfully promoted two medications, according to Attorney General Roy Cooper.

“Drug companies have a duty to put safety before profits, and that means marketing medicines for approved uses only,” Cooper said.

Cooper’s Consumer Protection Division filed a complaint and consent judgment in Wake County Superior Court against Amgen this morning. North Carolina will receive more than $2.1 million as its share of the judgment.

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