Senate Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt said today he was “heartened” by Governor Perdue’s State of the State speech last night.
“I think she’s shown great leadership,” Nesbitt told reporters at his weekly news conference. “She’s helped us couch the debate.”
He said he appreciated Perdue’s focus on creating educational and job opportunities for North Carolinians, even in light of a gaping budget shortfall. “We don’t have to strip state government down to nothing,” Nesbitt said. “We have to make choices.”
The Buncombe Democrat wasn’t quite sure what to make of Perdue’s announcement last night that she wants to cut the corporate income tax rate from 6.9 to 4.9 percent.
“It struck me as peculiar that we’re cutting taxes right now,” he conceded. But he defended the idea of lowering the rate, which is the highest in the Southeast: “It’s been a thorn in our side.”
Nesbitt said he’d heard the cost of the cut could be as high as $450 million. “In the scheme of things, it’s not that much money.”
Nesbitt also talked about how his caucus plans to stay relevant as a veto-proof minority: by trying to fix bills, rather than just voting Aye or No. But he says it’s been a challenge so far. “I’ve been surprised so far by every bill that I have seen -- that it goes much further than I thought it would go.”
As an example, Nesbitt cited the Charter School Reform bill (S8) headed for the Senate floor Thursday. Watch the clip for more: Nesbitt on leading a minority caucus