Local Politics

State agencies wince over additional cuts

Posted August 17, 2009

— Already smarting from cuts in the new state budget, state agencies on Monday were trying to come to grips with Gov. Beverly Perdue's order that they cut another 5 percent from their annual spending.

Late Friday, Perdue issued an executive order mandating the 5 percent across-the-board cuts. The order came a week after she signed the $19 billion budget that included more than $2 billion in cuts and almost $1 billion in new taxes.

Gov. Beverly Perdue Perdue: Budget cuts 'just frugal management'

"This is just frugal management, managing cash flow," Perdue said Monday. "We need to be good stewards, and we need to know we have the resources available to pay the bills, and that's what this allows me to do."

The additional money from a one-cent increase in the sales tax rate and an income tax surcharge that were included in the budget won't flow into state coffers for a few months, officials said. So the money held back from state agencies will be put into a reserve account to ensure that the state has enough cash on hand in the coming months to pay its bills.

The 5 percent cuts would save about $473 million, according to figures compiled by Perdue's office.

About $75 million of that total will come from the Department of Health and Human Services, which is still trying to absorb about $900 million in budget cuts. DHHS Secretary Lanier Cansler said the additional cuts ordered by Perdue will be especially painful since most of the department's budget is tied directly to patient care.

"When we're talking about taking 5 percent additional, we can't take it out of administration," Cansler said. "If we tried to take it out of administration, it will be difficult to manage the programs. So we have to look for ways to be smarter (and) be innovative."

The University of North Carolina system will have to cut $125 million, and the North Carolina Community College System will have to cut $47.5 million.

Public schools are exempt from the additional cuts, as are Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program. Public safety programs were asked to cut spending by 4 percent instead of 5 percent.

Capt. Everett Clendenin of the state Highway Patrol, said the 4 percent cut will still hurt the agency.

"We're going to have to tighten our belts that much more," Clendenin said, adding that the cuts wouldn't affect the number of state troopers patrolling North Carolina highways. "One thing the governor made clear (is) she's not going to compromise public safety."

Republican leaders quickly jumped on Perdue's cuts, calling it "erratic decision-making" after agreeing to a budget that raised taxes and cut spending.

"Gov. Perdue is admitting that her budget was out of balance," Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger said in a statement. "As North Carolinians continue to endure record unemployment, we need strong, consistent leadership from the Governor’s Office, not erratic decision-making and a failure to meet constitutional requirements followed by political spin.”

Perdue dismissed the criticism as mere politics. If the economy rebounds and tax collections improve to the point where the money in the reserve account is no longer needed to manage the state's cash flow, she said, all money left in the account would be released to state agencies.


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  • Iwasasoldier4u Aug 18, 2009

    This woman is not carrying all of her marbles in the same bag. Just what does she have to do to finally get people to have a recall vote. She is going to run every company and citizen out of this state. Maybe that is what she wants so she can rule the illegal population the same as that sicko in north korea. It is time to get rid of Kim Jong Perdue.

  • amyrn Aug 17, 2009

    State employees have a nine month probation and if they transfer within the state after being made permanent from one state job to another, they pretty much don't have probation. I have seen people fired who worked for the state. There is a lot of paperwork involved but it can be done.

  • computer trainer Aug 17, 2009

    dugmeister, unfortunately you are VERY correct. We have people at my agency who never do anything, who rarely come to work, who lie, cheat and steal, and everyone knows it, but no one will do anything about ti. They do not document anything, so if they ever do decide to start working towards a merit system, everyone will start off at the same level. What a crock.

  • rand321 Aug 17, 2009

    Cut a lot of the asst chancellors, provosts, and vice chancellors and their support costs from the UNC system would make a big part of the DHS budget cuts. tens of millions of dollars here added in the last 5 years.

    I wonder how many of these new positions went to friends of Mike and Mary and their friends?

  • Heavensent Aug 17, 2009

    I think Perdue is being cautious considering the new taxes haven't officially went into effect. However, I wonder why she is cutting 5 percent, when after the budget was signed an additiional 7mil dollars was added to the budget. Quite confusing...

  • GWALLY Aug 17, 2009

    Beverly Perdue has MY respect.....at least she has the courage to face facts and DO something about the issues facing this state....(and NO I DID not vote for her)!!! She has more courage than the "great messiah" you liberal democrtas sent to Washington!!!!! She SHOULD be President...at least she knows how to react CORRECTLY to a budget deficit!!!!!!

  • colliedave Aug 17, 2009

    Perdue slashes spending and you don't like it. Obama spends and you don't like it. What would make you happy? All Republicans, no Democrats?

    Five per cent can hardly be called "slashing spending." What would make me happy would be lean, mean fighting machine of a government. One that invests money to keep its citizens safe, educates its citizens, and invests in needed infastructure while keeping overhead at an absolute minimun. Things such as alcohol sales and the arts should be moved to the private sector.

  • dugmeister Aug 17, 2009

    It is next to impossible to fire a NC State employee. Once they are locked in (6 months probation?) - they are locked in. Therefore, ZERO incentive to be productive, pro-active, etc. If State employees thought they would lose their job over poor performance, we wouldn't see as much 'fat' in State gov.

  • Libandproud Aug 17, 2009

    "she's YOUR Gov., don't wince over it, thank your neighbors for voting for the unqualified one!"

    Perdue slashes spending and you don't like it. Obama spends and you don't like it. What would make you happy? All Republicans, no Democrats?

  • shep8851 Aug 17, 2009

    I dont know if any of the elected officials in Raleigh ever read any of the stuff that comes in here--but I for one am sick and tired of hearing how broke the state is, how "deep cuts" are going to have come, and the traditional Dem. mantra--"raise taxes". This state spends $1.3 BILLION dollars per year to support and educate ILLEGAL ALIENS. Why should hard working, tax paying citizens be required to continue to support people who are here illegally?? And the da- n people in government won't even talk about this issue in public??