Perdue: 'Hoping for a miracle'

Posted May 31, 2011

Gov. Bev Perdue didn't use the "V" word today, but she said just about everything but.

"Don't let them fool you," she told reporters on a conference call this afternoon. "They are not protecting public classrooms." 

Earlier in the day, Republican leaders expressed hope that Perdue might agree to their latest budget deal, which eliminates a $390 M cut of 13,000 teachers' assistant jobs in grades 1 and 2. The package also includes $61 million for additional teachers to reduce class sizes in grades K-3.  

But the measure also increases general cuts to local school systems from $4 million to $128 million. That's on top of existing cuts from the last budget cycle, adding up to a total of $429 million local school officials will have to give back to lawmakers this year. 

Republicans say local officials can best decide where to make those cuts, which they say can be made in administration and support without harming classrooms. But Perdue said the changes amount to little more than shuffling money around.

"It’s a charade of sorts," she said. "There’s no way for them to take these cuts without firing teachers and teachers' assistants."

Perdue said local school systems have already cut everything they can outside the classroom. "They’ve done more with less for two years," she added. "There is nothing else left for them to cut but warm bodies."

When asked if she would veto the budget deal, Perdue would only say she had earlier promised to veto any budget that "doesn't protect the classroom." 

"I'm hoping for a miracle on Jones St. tomorrow," she said, referring to the possibility the bill could be amended during the Senate floor debate.

Perdue also said she doesn't believe last fall's election amounted to a voter mandate to "defund" state schools and universities. "The economy was the driving issue, and that’s what that election was about. You know it and I know it."  

Would she sign any budget that didn't include her proposed extension of a temporary sales tax? "There’s nothing off the table for me," she said. "If it’s not the sales tax, bring me a revenue source."

Republicans say they won't consider extending the sales tax increase or finding another revenue source. They say the revenue set to flow into state coffers next year is more than enough to meet state needs, if it's spent wisely.  

But Perdue says it isn't enough, and she thinks voters agree with her.

"It’s just a silly choice," Perdue said. "It’s one they don’t have to make."


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  • stanmak Jun 6, 2011

    @simpleman01, i think its fair to give the d's credit for the last 10 years of success and failure in NC. they continued to overspend, now the hacks come out and bellyache because somebody has to shrink the amount of gubment money that pays for everything. i look at the cuts, and i wonder why in the world my tax money is going to some of this????

  • simpleman01 Jun 2, 2011

    I agree that spending needs to be reduced.BUT why do people say it is the Dems fault for the last 100 years or so? The shortfall is a result of the recession. People losing their jobs = no taxes being paid to the state and no sales taxes being collected on all those things the unemployed used to buy. It is not a result of either political party. It is a result of massive job losses over the last three years.

  • Jun 2, 2011

    Jobs!!!! would be a good place to start ...get those, and you'll generate revenue through taxes already in place to support gov. programs ...like education........Duh!

  • BrightLight Jun 2, 2011

    "Miracle on 34th Street" was a great movie about giving "stuff" away. Gov Perdue's "...miracle on Jones Street...", if it happens, would be the continuation of a bad movie about giving "stuff" away. In this case, the "stuff" is the NC taxpayers' money. In November, 2010, Republicans gained control of both houses of the NC General Assembly for the first time since 1870. Since Daniel Russell left office in January, 1901, NC has had two Republican governors. The last one, Jim Martin, left office in January 1993. To the great extent that fiscal policies have helped create the budgetary mess we have now in NC, the Democrats are responsible. That's the truth. For those of you who(to steal a movie line)can't handle the truth, listen up. We don't need a "miracle on Jones Street". We've had years of that. It will result in just a re-run of a bad political mindset. What we need is a new approach. Let's give the Republicans a chance to see if they can't come up with something better.

  • edith wharton Jun 2, 2011

    I'm still waiting for them to cut the $99,000,000 in funding we hand out to the PRIVATE colleges in the state. Why in the world are we giving handouts to private colleges? That could easily save programs they are cutting that benefit our public schools, like the NC Teaching Fellows Program. The private college welfare was the rich elected officials giving to their alma maters. Wonder how many of our officials actually attended public schools? I know this taxpayer did.

  • RonnieR Jun 2, 2011

    She always sounds so whiney when she doesn't get her way. She needs to girl up and, at the least, project a better vocal tone when she speaks, not sound as if she is about to brust out crying.

  • angieamericangirl Jun 2, 2011

    I don't trust Gov. Perdue. I work for the state and I still do not trust her. I feel like if she signs something then it is bad.

  • maryburkett1 Jun 2, 2011

    can't people use their own brain. this going with party lines is stupid. If a dem says its true if you are a dem same with rep. There is a middle ground. No one is all wrong or all right. Get informed,read, study,ask questions and then decide, don't follow blindly

  • chevybelair57sd Jun 2, 2011

    The path NC state government has taken over the last 118 years has come home to roost and now WE will pay the piper and yet a lot of you don;t want to payup. well we are the ones who elected over and over politicians who have stolen from us, spent more than we had, and settled in for a lucrative career while accomplishing very little for us TAXPAYERS. I feel your suffering but puzzle over your voting habits.

  • stanmak Jun 2, 2011

    @sartcesticle you are one conspiracy theory away from actually being michael moore. @ every on else with a brain: they said the budget will be on the gov's desk this saturday, the house r's have 5 dems in their pocket. benefits restored this saturday.