Local Politics

Perdue's tax push comes with political risks

Posted June 22, 2009
Updated June 23, 2009

— Gov. Beverly Perdue continued barnstorming the state Monday to rally support for higher taxes to fund education.

Perdue held two of her "Save Education" rallies in Wilmington and Greenville Monday to press lawmakers to find $1 billion to $1.5 billion in additional revenue for education as they struggle to erase a projected $4.6 budget deficit.

Gov. Beverly Perdue Backing tax increase could hurt Perdue later

"I've been so troubled by the proposed cuts to public education," Perdue said at her kickoff rally in Raleigh last Wednesday. "We cannot increase class size. We cannot lay off teachers. We will not sacrifice North Carolina's economic future."

Trying to sell tax increases in a down economy is a politically risky proposition for Perdue.

"The governor's clearly in a no-win situation. She's having to spend political capital pushing an idea that the public has question marks about," Democratic political consultant Brad Crone said.

Polls show Perdue's popularity has dropped in recent weeks, Crone said. In addition to her tax push, she also cut the pay for state workers in an effort to balance the 2008-09 budget.

"If you're going to drive the legislature, you've got to have public support and public sentiment behind you," he said.

Crone, who also consults for the Entertainment Group of North Carolina, a coalition of video gaming businesses, has suggested that the legislature repeal the ban on video poker and use the machines as a source of revenue for the state.

The governor also has been criticized because, other than alcohol and tobacco taxes, she hasn't offered specifics on how to raise the money. She said it's up to lawmakers to figure out the best mix of taxes and cuts in the budget.

A Senate plan would tax dozens of services, from lawn care to car repairs, but would lower the state rates on sales and income taxes. Meanwhile, the House budget calls for a quarter-cent increase on the sales tax and higher income taxes on couples making more than $200,000 a year.

"I just think now's not the time to be raising taxes on anyone," said taxpayer Mike Donnelly of Bunn.

Some taxpayers said they would be willing to support upper-income taxes and higher surcharges on tobacco and alcohol.

"I'd just as soon it not be necessary, but there's a funding shortage for all things that make our quality of life better. So it's got to come from somewhere," said taxpayer Ed Spencer of Raleigh.

"(We need to raise) what is needed to support an educational program in North Carolina that the state is going to be proud of," said taxpayer Lindsay Reed of Raleigh.

Even with such support from voters, Crone said, Perdue is fortunate that she doesn't face re-election for another three years.

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  • kuzin11 Jun 23, 2009

    Even as the ship is sinking, it's politics as usual. What if this is the apex of the great America. Are we going to stand around and allow the state and federal government to tax the working class to extinction? To send this one time Superpower into bankruptcy? Perdue is a weak person and a weak governor. Some of us could see this during the election while others wanted to remain blind. We deserve whatever we get. God help us!

  • 5Rs Jun 23, 2009

    For every law passed by our legislators there should be two old, obsolete and useless laws removed, the bureaucracy associated with them eliminated and the consequent savings would take care of any excess budgeting. No tax increase would be needed.

  • whatusay Jun 23, 2009

    All the money in the world will not make kids learn if they have no desire to learn. NC needs to look at poverty created by welfare and single women having more children than they can support. Education begins at home. Those who want an education can get an education. Don't blame the teachers. Get the trouble makers out of the classrooms and gades will go up.

  • beachboater Jun 23, 2009

    She's talking to the NCAE, what do you expect her to say. She politicing all the way. No substance at all.

  • pbjbeach Jun 23, 2009

    I think that this current finicial condition has been brought about on purpose to aid the blue dog politicians in pushing this state to be totaly red as that the blue dogs had may as well change their registeration to republican anyway. for they are in fact wolves in blue dog disguise. bev could cars less about the citizens of this state as long as she accomplishes what her an the blue dog agenda is to accomplish an that is to push the entire state to the far right politicaly

  • vote4changeASAP Jun 23, 2009

    Hey Bev, why don't you call up Obama and ask him for the rule book for his forced volunteerism. Bill H.R. 1388 Gerations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act. You can save the state billions by forcing the teachers to volunteer for free.

    *sarcasm*

  • doright Jun 22, 2009

    If Gov Bev really cared about education, she would cut out the CEO of Education position that she created for no good reason other than to have a puppet. That would save the state 1 million dollars over the next 3 years. This would buy 4-6 teachers annually. Her low popularity is due to irresponsible decisions like creating redundant positions, not just the economy.

  • avidreader Jun 22, 2009

    How's that Hope and Change working for ya now? I hope I have some change left in my pocket by the time these people finish soaking us.

    May I please speak frankly? This is reparations pure and simple. All those working will soon be enslaved to the gov'mnt and everything we make will be turned over to those who will not work - or are here illegally and collecting. I really don't understand why the working class is hated so much - where will they go to finance their projects and keep up their cronies and their voting block when we, the workers, run out of money??

  • james27613 Jun 22, 2009

    She is smart, asks for higher taxes but will not give any ideas,
    she leaves that dirty task to Legislature so they can take blame,
    as they should for all the wasted spending over the past decade.

    Will Gov. fully fund our state health plan ?

  • james27613 Jun 22, 2009

    What happened to her promise of a free education at any
    NC State Community College ?

    LIES more LIES.

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