Local Politics

Easley: Perdue's experience will help with budget

Posted December 18, 2008

— Governor-elect Beverly Perdue's legislative background will help her lead North Carolina through a growing budget crisis, Gov. Mike Easley said Thursday.

In interviews with WRAL News, Perdue and Easley said the economy will overshadow all other issues that the state will face in the coming months.

Fiscal analysts have said the state budget deficit will top $1 billion this year, and some have said it could reach $3 billion for the fiscal year that starts next July.

"It won't be easy, but I'm good at (making) tough decisions," Perdue said. "I know going into it that I can balance the budget and move North Carolina forward and create some new jobs while I'm doing that."

Easley was in a similar position when he took office in 2001. The state budget was close to $1 billion in the hole, and he used various fiscal maneuvers and shepherded a half-cent sales tax increase through the General Assembly to balance the budget.

Although the deficit might be bigger this year, Easley said, Perdue will be in a better position than he was because of her experience.

"She may be the most qualified person to ever run for governor," he said. "She's got 22 years of experience as a member of the House (and the Senate), and then in the Senate (she served) as chair of Appropriations (Committee), which is the budget. So, she knows the budget inside and out.

"She knows how to handle these things, and that's going to give her an advantage that I didn't have," he said.

Easley ordered state agencies to begin cutting their budgets by 2 percent in September, and he recently told department officials to draft plans for Perdue that outline how they would cut their budgets by up to 7 percent.

He said he wanted to lessen the budget burden on Perdue as much as possible.

Another factor in Perdue's favor is the sluggish national economy, according to Easley. States are in such bad shape that President-elect Barack Obama is pushing a massive stimulus package to create jobs, generate spending and build needed infrastructure.

Perdue said she plans to lobby aggressively to ensure the state gets its share of any federal stimulus funding.

"North Carolina needs those revenue streams to build our own economy and to put our own people to work," she said.

Perdue said she hasn't and won't beg for federal support, but said she thinks it's appropriate for the government to help the states because they are suffering from the fallout of questionable business practices by banks and others whoare receiving government assistance during the financial crisis.

"We're the ones who feel the hurt," she said. "Our unemployment rate recently went up (again). Our home foreclosures are way up. Our real estate sales are way down. So, in North Carolina, we're feeling the derivatives of a situation we didn't create."

To lead the state through the tough times, she said, everyone in her administration will share her commitment to moving the state forward.

"My administration is going to be highlighted – a big, yellow highlight and an exclamation point – (by) ethical, hands-on, transparent leadership," she said. "I'm going to demand that from every single person I've got in a leadership role, and if they don't deliver, I'm going to figure out a way to get rid of them."


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  • beachboater Dec 19, 2008

    If you don't think Bev is highly qualified and has an impeccable record, just ask her. She has told us several times during the debates and stump speeches what a fabulous job she had done.

  • jsanders Dec 19, 2008

    An actual "tough decision" wouldn't be deciding which taxes to raise and which budgets to grow less wildly than in the past (in Raleigh they call it a "cut"), but to make definite cuts in the state budget while North Carolina families and businesses are making cuts in theirs:

  • encinark Dec 19, 2008

    And she is already in line with Obama asking for funds to bail out the state. She will probably be in Washington on the corner of PA avenue with a reflector vest on and a sign that says NC is Broke, please help and may God Bless. Opps, God Bless would not be politically correct. Maybe may your Supreme Being bless

  • Garnerwolf1 Dec 19, 2008

    "I know going into it that I can balance the budget and move North Carolina forward and create some new jobs while I'm doing that."
    Isn't it a shame that the Governor has squat to do with the budget? And that she knows that? Hmmmm?

  • IMONC Dec 19, 2008

    If Easley was so good balancing the budget back then, why are we in a worse situation now? The more Perdue talks to the public the more worried I am. If I could move I would, and for all the State employees plan on finding another job unless you're a teacher.

  • xxxxxxxxxxxxx Dec 19, 2008

    "It won't be easy, but I'm good at (making) tough decisions," Perdue said."

    State employees (except teachers, of course) beware - it's going to be 4 more years of having the budget balanced on our backs.

  • bs101fly Dec 19, 2008

    "she is actually quite smart and sharp."

    she has a LONG way to go to prove that! but at least she does understand "fundamentals".
    FUNDAMENTALS OF WHAT EXACTLY BEV???? or do you prefer to be called "B" now?

  • NC Reader Dec 19, 2008

    Like her or not (and I know plenty of folks on both sides), she does have a lot of experience putting together a budget. Despite her poor (abysmal, maybe?) showing during the debates, she is actually quite smart and sharp. I am no great fan of hers, but I do agree with Mike Easley that she is well qualified to be governor.

    Anyone who decides to criticize someone else's intelligence would do well to think about his or her own grammar and spelling before making a post.

  • FloydTurbo Dec 19, 2008

    Being Easley's Lt Governor is like being Al Capone's gun moll. All Bev knows how to do is "anything Basnight and Rand tell her to do". "Just sign this Dumpling like a good little Governor-ette".

  • TStills Dec 19, 2008

    Umm, yeah. Quite frankly, I dont think theres ANYONE thats more ill-prepared to deal with a fiscal crisis than her. All I can say is that I sincerely hope shes at least surrounded herself with some intelligent, experienced people.