Local Politics

Perdue: 'Everything on table' for cutting deficit

Posted March 9, 2009
Updated March 10, 2009

— Gov. Beverly Perdue vowed Monday to preserve education funding while cutting state government drastically in other areas as North Carolina deals with its toughest economic crisis in generations.

"Everything is on the table," Perdue said in her first State of the State address. "We don't have time for talk-show political posturing or petty partisan games."

Perdue give State of State speech Perdue delivers first State of State

The latest projections call for the state budget to be in a $2.2 billion hole by June. Lawmakers will face a deficit of at least $3 billion as they craft a budget for the 2009-10 fiscal year that starts in July, according to fiscal analysts.

Perdue has ordered state agencies to reduce their spending by 9 percent, and she said more cuts would be recommended when she presents her proposed budget next week.

"'Cutting the fat' is a cliche that does not go far enough," she said. "We will reduce and cut state government programs and services that many, including me, know have been effective but which, in these times, we simply cannot afford."

While not providing specific details about how she would balance revenues and spending, she outlined several priority areas for state funding.

"I will do whatever it takes to pay our state's bills; keep our kids healthy and in school; make sure that, when our seniors need care, they can get it; keep prisoners locked up and our people safe; and create jobs and provide ways for those who are out of work to learn new skills," she said.

Almost 400,000 North Carolina residents were unemployed in December – a record number – and the state's 8.7 percent unemployment rate is the highest in a quarter century.

"Families around the state are anxious," Perdue said. "Many have lost their jobs. Many have lost their homes. As I travel around this state, I see the uncertainty and worry in the eyes of North Carolinians."

Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger Berger gives GOP response to Perdue speech

Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger said Perdue and lawmakers cannot add to those worries by raising taxes.

"State government should not take action that fixes the state budget and harms and ignores the family budget," Berger, R-Rockingham, said in the official Republican response to Perdue's speech.

Berger criticized recent state budgets, which he said increased spending by 50 percent and doubled state debt in six years. The state now spends $53 million each day, he said.

"The current economic situation is an opportunity to get North Carolina's financial house in order," he said.

The governor said she would continue to chase funds from the $787 billion federal stimulus. She has expressed disappointment with North Carolina's initial $6.1 billion share of the spending package and has talked with President Barack Obama and officials in his administration about securing more.

"We must go after every federal recovery dollar that is available. We need to get that money into North Carolina," she said. "But we can't rely on the federal government alone. we must do whatever it takes, on our own, here in North Carolina, to create jobs, help displaced workers get new jobs and keep families in their homes."

Even with the deepening deficit, Perdue said, the state cannot afford to cut back on education spending. She said her budget would increase per-student spending for the 2009-10 school year.

"Education is the engine that propels North Carolina's future. It cannot – and will not – be sacrificed," she said.

At the same time, she called for "some sanity to North Carolina's own testing mania" and said more technology needs to be introduced in public schools to engage more students. She also pushed for College Promise, a program designed to help make college more affordable to more state residents.

"My efforts create a pathway, starting in pre-kindergarten, that offers courses of study that fit students' needs," she said. "Seamless learning, pre-K through (grade) 20, that's the goal."

Perdue said the sacrifices the state faces in the coming months won't be easy, but she urged lawmakers to act courageously to lead North Carolina into a brighter future.

"It is time for the ordinary citizens in this citizen legislature to be extraordinary leaders," she said. "Simply getting our economy back to what it was isn't good enough. We will make our economy stronger."


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  • exteacher Mar 10, 2009

    "good thing you're an EX teacher then.

    You make NO sense. When are you going back to wherever it is you came from?

  • time4real Mar 10, 2009

    good thing you're an EX teacher then.

  • nobama Mar 10, 2009

    If only she was honest about that.

  • exteacher Mar 10, 2009

    "EXteacher, Ok, I'll pull back, a tad, on the "worst in the state," but you have YET to tell me how Wake County is doing better than Charlotte when they have twice as many LI or F&R students YET their test scores are just about even with Wake. And THEY DO NOT BUS kids to hide test scores, wasting millions that we don't have every year, or "balance diversity" which is just another way of saying race! Care to cover that one as I asked you for earlier??"

    I never said Wake Co. schools were doing better than Charlotte. YOU stated that Wake Co. schools were among the worst in the state and I asked you for proof of that. The article I cited (with the link) states that the study done by Queens University in Charlotte, showed that scores in Wake Co., on the whole, are slightly higher than Mecklenburg Co. I have not advocated for Wake Co.'s system over Charlotte's; I was merely asking you to back up your claim that Wake Co. has some of the worst scores in the state, (which you can't do).

  • exteacher Mar 10, 2009

    "A lot of people from Charlotte voted for Perdue because they wanted to keep McCrory as mayor. They have stated that and that is how she won that county along with the people who voted straight ticket"

    Huh??? He isn't even running for mayor again so that argument is bogus.

  • paythepiper Mar 10, 2009


    She has already raided the lottery. The state has stopped payments to local school districts. Done quietly and under secrecy. Cannot tell you how I found out cause that would identify my source. Like the tax refunds, this was a calculated plan to earn more interest on our money. The state has until June to pay it out without penalty. I think we need a recall election. Whoever is pulling Perdues strings is either an idiot or just does not understand. How else can you explain her claim to spend more money in the middle of the worst economy since the 30's?

  • paythepiper Mar 10, 2009

    No takers on my challenge. Oh well. BTW for those that have the illusion that Bev actually won the election, think again. She rode into office on the backs of straight party voters. Those that could care less about their civic responsibility. I will say it again, and again, those that vote straight party tickets should be ashamed of themselves. You have shirked your responsibility as a citizen. If my Dog had been a democratic candidate for Gov. the state song would be hail to the pooch.

  • time4real Mar 10, 2009

    Ok, I'll pull back, a tad, on the "worst in the state," but you have YET to tell me how Wake County is doing better than Charlotte when they have twice as many LI or F&R students YET their test scores are just about even with Wake. And THEY DO NOT BUS kids to hide test scores, wasting millions that we don't have every year, or "balance diversity" which is just another way of saying race! Care to cover that one as I asked you for earlier??

  • gotogirl Mar 10, 2009

    Well, dws, if you had read all of the blogs you would see where that came from.

  • methinkthis Mar 10, 2009

    Reasonable financial planning would allow for covering a 10% deficit. However, most legislatures and Congress seem to think that they must spend every penny and borrow more than that. How can we expect that those whose irresponsible spending got us into this mess (including the current governor) fix the mess? The whole country has been in a spend it all and borrow more mode. We now reap the results. I am waiting to hear our leaders in the legislature say we spent too much and we need to set aside 10% each year for the tough times.

    The reason Bev could not give any details is because she is planning to raid the 'education' lottery and whatever else she can instead of just cutting expenses.