Local Politics

Perdue cuts, adds to state budget

Posted April 20, 2010

— Gov. Beverly Perdue's budget plan would cut nearly $1 billion for the coming year by eliminating programs and cutting Medicaid abuse while expanding some programs by nearly as much.

Perdue on Tuesday unveiled her recommended changes for the second year of the two-year budget approved by the General Assembly last summer, saying her priorities were on getting people back to work, upgrading education, streamlining government and maintaining safe communities.

Fiscal analysts have projected a $788 million deficit for the 2010-11 fiscal year, which starts in July.

Perdue unveils budget proposal Web only: Perdue unveils budget proposal

Most state agencies would have spending cut an additional 5 to 7 percent in the new fiscal year under Perdue's proposal, but education would be cut less than 4 percent. More than 600 state jobs would be eliminated under the plan, which would lower state spending overall by about $400 million.

"We reduce or eliminate 70 programs that are unnecessary or inefficient, saving taxpayers $200 million," she said. "I continue to focus on efficiencies in government."

The Department of Health and Human Services, which saw deep cuts last year, would see its budget increase by about 5 percent under Perdue's plan, which offsets many cuts with about $550 million in additional funding from the federal government.

"This budget focused on mental health and on Medicaid," Perdue said. "In these tough times, more people are enrolling in Medicaid."

Public schools would get money to buy hand-held devices to help teachers in lower grades assess student performance. Other education increases include limiting class sizes in kindergarten through third grade and fully funding enrollment growth in the University of North Carolina system and the state's 58 community colleges. More money also would be provided for need-based financial aid in higher education.

UNC President Erskine Bowles said in a statement that he was pleased by Perdue's call for funding enrollment growth and financial aid, but he said the across-the-board budget cuts included in her proposal go too far.

"The budget reductions reluctantly recommended by the governor will do permanent and substantial damage to the university’s academic core and will start us on a path to mediocrity, something North Carolinians have never been willing to settle for in their institutions of higher learning," Bowles said.

State budget Budget plan focuses on job creation, education

Under the budget proposal, public school teachers would receive their longevity-based salary increases after they were suspended last year because of the bad economy. State employees and teachers also would get a one-time bonus to make up for furloughs last year.

Perdue maintained there is "money in the system" that would allow school districts to trim spending without losing teachers, but education advocates said they weren't so sure of that.

"The General Assembly's challenge is to reverse the K-12 education job cuts," Sheri Strickland, president of the North Carolina Association of Educators, said in a statement. "Attempting to solve this budget crisis by laying off educators and placing students in overcrowded classrooms robs our children of a quality education and undermines North Carolina's economic future."

"It's a pretty substantial cut, so I think there's certainly room for debate about whether or not local schools can really meet their reduction targets without cutting back on teaching positions," said Elaine Mejia, director of the progressive N.C. Budget & Tax Center.

Perdue also calls for providing a tax credit of $250 per employee to small businesses that provide health insurance to their workers and for creating a $15 million incentive fund to encourage small businesses to hire people who have been unemployed for at least two months.

A proposed $22 million "mobility fund" would address transportation bottlenecks, and another $10 million would be used to streamline the state's databases of criminal records. Other safety-related funding includes raising the salaries of probation and parole officers to boost recruitment and retention and expanding the ability of law enforcement agencies statewide to collect DNA at the time of felony arrests.

"I am determined to change some of the platforms of state government," Perdue said. "I am determined to use technology and innovation and private-public partnerships to do more with less."

Perdue said she expects her crackdown on Medicaid fraud and waste to save the state $35 million in the coming year, and she said spending on inmate medical care would drop by $20.5 million by linking payments to the Medicare and Medicaid fee schedules.


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  • weasel2 Apr 21, 2010

    O'l Bev is trying to save her seat, she learned from the best. I wonder what would happen if the teachers actually talked to their students to find out how there doing. But I guess it would be more fun to play with new toy and guess how their doing. Cut to the bone everywhere else but spend money on nonsense when it comes to the teachers.

  • ThinkChick Apr 21, 2010

    The problem with the motto LEAVE NO INCUMBENT LEFT UNSEATED is that some really good people will get sent home and losers put in.

    Don't vote straight party....EVER!

  • ThinkChick Apr 21, 2010

    I will bet those unnecessary and inefficient programs were created when NC had a huge tax surplus and, like the idiots they are, the government spent OUR money on them instead of giving us the refunds.

    "I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious." --Thomas Jefferson

  • Garnerwolf1 Apr 21, 2010

    "WHY did these programs even exist in the first place????" In all likelihood because some politican, voted on by the people, at some point in time, said to do such program. Ultimately we, the people, are to blame for the state (situation) the State is in. Why? Because we continue to vote in either the same people, or ones just like them. Of course, one reason for this is because these type people are the only ones that ever run.

  • wayneboyd Apr 21, 2010

    In 2010 ,2012 let this be your motto."LEAVE NO INCUMBENT LEFT UNSEATED.'

  • SomeRandomGuy Apr 21, 2010

    ""We reduce or eliminate 70 programs that are unnecessary or inefficient, saving taxpayers $200 million," she said."

    WHY did these programs even exist in the first place????

  • ykm Apr 21, 2010

    We have a balanced budget so ya can't complain to much. Unless the departments or programs you support are not getting enough funding. What I would like to see is the budget reflect each revenue stream and the proportion that is allocated to each department, program and liability. We would all have a better idea of how, when and where our money is being spent. This would nullify the power of interest groups or at minimum make them come out of the closet. ex. Education is always the hot budget item, has been for the 30 years I have lived here. They always have problems that demand funding, but never seem to solve them. And while we continue to fund these problems we forget how much the guys that plowed the roads this year got paid.

  • pbjbeach Apr 21, 2010

    I am a democrat but this woman is totaly useless as governor of this state an she needs to be recalled an or just plain out fired. I f she was truely instresetd in cutting the spending an the waste an the fraud in state government she could evry easly do so by just combing thru the budgets of the various agencys an truely looking for the outright fraud that is an has been taking place now for years an this is especially so within the ncdot an it' s contracting practices an . Just as that there has been outright fraud an taxpayers abuses within the war profetering of the iraq war an bad work that was performed by these contracting enity's just for profotering of the defense contracting company's under the bush an cheney regime . these abuse first need to be looked into an corrected by the pols an the make the necessary cuts but dont cut state government positions prior to doing these other steps first thank you

  • EvilSithLord Apr 21, 2010

    Nice , just 118 comments? Whatever happened to the postings I made yesterday? Freedom of speech?

  • mootybird Apr 21, 2010

    Does anyone but me think that Beverly Purdue doesn't have a clue as to what she is doing? She is the greatest example of what happens when folks don't know how to not vote a straight party ticket.