RALEIGH — Gov. Mike Easley will announce a budget emergency Thursday afternoon. The declaration will give Easley the power to order deep, widespread budget cuts to the state's budget shortfall.
With the state more than $780 million in the hole, Easley met behind closed doors Wednesday with House Speaker Jim Black and Senate President Pro Tempore Marc Basnight to get their ideas for cuts. However, as Senate Budget chairman Sen. Fountain Odom puts it, it is the governor's problem.
"This is one of those situations that, under the laws of North Carolina, the governor has the responsibility to keep the budget in balance as we go toward the end of this fiscal year," he says.
After invoking the budget emergency, Easley will have broad powers to cut the size of the deficit. The governor said he does not plan to cut back services or state jobs.