Local News

State Lawmakers Discuss Alternatives To Raising Taxes

Posted July 19, 2001

— State lawmakers are discussing alternatives to raising taxes.

Budget writers are scheduled to lay out a list of possible spending cuts Thursday. The votes are not there to raise taxes, and spending cuts are not popular among lawmakers.

"We have already cut spending by millions of dollars, and it is not enough to make ends meet."" says Fountain Odom (D-Mecklenburg). "If we make the cuts that are laid out before you today, we don't just don't bring our state's progress to a screeching halt, we put the vessel into reverse."

The range of spending cuts includes education, which up to now have been spared, pay raises for teachers and state employees and the closings of institutions for the handicapped.

Senate Republicans say they have been shut out of budget talks, but they took the offensive on Thursday.

"This is a desperate move by the Democratic leadership," says Sen. Pat Ballentine (R-New Hanover). "We can agree with the House Democrats and the House Republicans to balance our budget and meet the needs of the state, put money in the rainy day fund and not increase taxes. Se can do it next week."

Meanwhile, Governor Easley is considering stopping lawmakers from borrowing $150 million from the Hurricane Floyd relief fund to help balance the budget.

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