Local Politics

Lawmakers pass $19B state budget

Posted August 5, 2009

State budget

— The House and Senate voted along party lines Wednesday to approve a $19 billion state budget.

The spending plan, which is more than a month overdue, now goes to Gov. Beverly Perdue. She said Tuesday night that she would sign it into law, despite some misgivings.

The Senate passed the final reading of the budget by a 27-18 vote, and the House followed a short time later with a 65-52 vote.

The budget was due July 1, but differences over spending priorities, where to cut and how to raise new revenue to erase a projected $4.6 billion deficit created an impasse between the two chambers.

The two sides negotiated on and off for weeks before agreeing to a tax plan last Thursday – an earlier version collapsed after Perdue objected to it – and then to spending decisions on Friday.

Perdue expressed concern over cuts to mental health services and said the budget doesn't provide enough funds for public safety or additional monetary help for working families, such as an increase in the earned income tax credit.

Republicans criticized the plan as too long on taxes and too short on spending cuts. Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, said the state is quickly becoming known as "North Taxolina."

The budget proposal includes a one-cent increase in the state sales tax rate, raising it to 7.75 cents in most locations. It also would impose a 2 to 3 percent surcharge on the income tax liability owed by individuals with a state taxable income of $60,000 or more and couples with a state taxable income of $100,000 or more.

Taxes on tobacco and alcohol also would be raised, and the state would claim a bigger share of alcohol taxes, holding onto some money previously distributed to municipalities.

On the spending side, lawmakers agreed to preserve class sizes – and hundreds of teaching jobs – in kindergarten through the third grade. Districts will have flexibility in reducing spending, but the budget directs schools to preserve the classroom as much as possible in grades 4 through 12.

About 725 state workers will lose their jobs under the budget, and another 1,318 vacant positions will be eliminated. But the plan spares other state employees from pay cuts and furloughs.

The job losses are in addition to any teaching jobs that were cut by school districts statewide.

The budget proposal cuts the Department of Health and Human Services budget by 29 percent and cuts education spending by almost 10 percent.


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  • lkanzig Aug 6, 2009

    gee took you people long enough!

  • Professor Aug 6, 2009

    wave a hardy goodbye and good riddence to our Democrats!

    Correction: Wave a hardy goodbye and good riddence to our REPUBLICANS. THAT WOULD BE THE THING TO DO. :)

  • Alert5 Aug 6, 2009


    Let's start early and wave a hardy goodbye and good riddence to our Democrats! They desere the best, so let's give them the old "Hawaiian" salute!

  • FoxtrotUniformCharlieKiloakaCALM Aug 6, 2009

    Take notes and remember this next election for those of you that are upset.

  • Garnerwolf1 Aug 6, 2009

    Vote against the incumbent, every time, for every office. Maybe they'll get the message in 20 or 30 years.

  • R+R2 Aug 6, 2009

    All your responses are nice, but useless unless the appropriate people hear them. I recommend that everyone write an email to their represntatives expressing their views on the budget. Go to
    http://www.ncleg.net to look up your representative. On their page will be an email address. Use it! I did and I don't think i'm on their christmas list anymore :)

  • time4real Aug 6, 2009

    How much time each day do you waste listening to Rush, Boortz and Hannity???? Put some miracle grow on it and turn it up!

  • Ladibug Aug 6, 2009

    We're so proud that you finally agreed on a budget. At whose expense????? I do believe the citizens of our State will remember at whose expense. We, as citizens, hope you all enjoy the remainder of your term representing our State.

  • A Libertarian Aug 6, 2009

    jrf - I aggree with most of your post, but consider two of the items you mentioned. The out of state athletics pay for themsleves as all football and B-ball more than pay for themselves in ticket sales and TV rights and so on. As a matter of fact, they pay for alot of other school activities too. Without good atheltics or winning teams, the ticket sales will go down.
    The medicare drugs could be done btter, but that is a very small percentage of hte overall costs, I beleive if you allow competition and of course the largest factor, 38% of all medical is attorney related as in lawsuits, malpractice insurance. If you address that issue, then all medical will go down huge, but that is a democratic money machine, therefore will never be touched.

    You do have vaild points in all areas though!

  • jrfergerson Aug 6, 2009

    Some said and I agree:So NC is supposed to be proud that 2 other states have not finished their budgets on time? And are we supposed to be proud that lots of state employees and teachers have or will lose their jobs and out-of-state athletes continue to get in-state tuition at taxpayer expense? And we are to be proud that sand will be trucked to the beaches at taxpayer expense, so it can be washed away within a year? We are to be proud that Nags Head beach is getting a super duper new pier partly paid for by taxpayers from past years? We definitely are to be proud that the teapot museum continues to be funded by us taxpayers? We are to be proud that the general assembly will not negotiate lower prescription costs for Medicare? Yep, we are a proud state all right. So proud that we value sand over keeping teachers and state employees employed. We value athletes, piers, and teapot museums over mental health services for those who need it.Bankruptcy ahead for NC