Wednesday, March 18, 2009

WRAL: Perdue's Budget Cuts Programs, Jobs - Not Spending

March 17, 2009

RALEIGH, N.C. — Gov. Beverly Perdue's budget proposal, released Tuesday, eliminates more than 20 programs and cuts more than 1,000 state jobs, but includes a 3 percent spending increase over current, reduced levels. ...

The two-year budget plan relies on targeted tax increases to deal with the state's worst fiscal conditions in generations. The current budget is $2.2 billion in the hole for the 2008-09 year, which ends in June, and analysts expect revenue to fall by another $3.4 billion in the coming fiscal year.

A $1-per-pack increase in North Carolina's cigarette tax and an extra 5 percent surcharge on alcohol to raise an additional $508 million, along with quadrupling professional licensing fees to $200 each, would generate another $27 million, according to her projections. ...

"To increase taxes and create an entirely new tax, as she proposes, will further damage our economy and cost jobs," Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger said. "Elected officials should be concerned about protecting the budgets of North Carolina’s families. This budget protects entrenched political and special interests."

"Gov. Perdue’s new budget breaks previous promises to abstain from raising taxes and does not protect core priorities of state government," said Linda Daves, chairwoman of the state Republican Party. "Not only does Gov. Perdue propose raising taxes, as well as creating new taxes, she is balancing the budget by placing the burden on some our state’s taxpayers least able to afford to pay more in difficult times."

"The reason we have a revenue problem is that people don't have money," House Minority Leader Paul Stam said. "This is the worst year to raise tax rates."

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