Local News

WRAL.com Users Suggest Ways To Solve State's Budget Crisis

Posted February 17, 2002

— The state budget continues to skate on thin ice, but it has been a heated debate both inside and outside the walls of the state Capitol.

WRAL.com asked users, "If you were in charge, how would you solve the state's budget crisis?" WRAL.com got many of responses, which ranged from cutting the salaries of all highly paid state employees by 20 percent, including the governor, to voting out the state lawmakers who approved the budget.

WRAL shared some of the users' ideas with Dana Cope, executive director of the 125,000-member State Employees Association of North Carolina.

"I think most of the folks appropriately placed the blame where it belongs, that's with the members of the General Assembly and also in the governor's office," he said.

State employees were not immune from the suggestions either. One idea was to lay off some of the employees or have them work 32 hours a week instead of 40.

Another suggestion was for workers who drive state cars to turn those in and drive their own cars.

"If the public realized exactly what we did for them, the valuable service that we provide for the citizens of this state, we would not need to be defended," state employee Shirley Bell said.

"In general, they lack respect, sure," Cope says. "Those state employees who are political appointees give the rest of the rank-and-file state employees really the bad name."

Other budget-balancing suggestions included stopping mandatory school busing and raising taxes on gasoline and cigarettes.

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