A coalition of groups under than banner Together NC urged lawmakers Wednesday to avoid a cuts-only approach to the state budget.
"Legislators can choose to take North Carolina forward, or they can choose to take North Carolina backward," said Louisa Warren, coordinator of Together NC, which claims to represent more than 120 organizations.
Warren and speakers representing environmental efforts, early childhood education, nonprofits, children with disabilities and low-income residents said slashing the budget would erode investments the state has made in its resources and people over recent decades.
Gov. Beverly Perdue last week rolled out a $19.9 billion budget proposal that includes extra revenue – her spending plan would keep most of a temporary sales tax increase in place and lower the threshold for estate taxes, for example – in addition to eliminating state programs and jobs.
The groups praised Perdue for her "balanced approach" to the budget and urged lawmakers to follow suit and not just look to cut spending.
"A cuts-only approach is not feasible and not economically responsible," Warren said. "Going forward means standing up for the people of this state."