Berger: 'The sky's not falling'

Posted June 2, 2011

Senate Leader Phil Berger stopped by the press room this afternoon for an impromptu news conference on the budget that won final approval in his chamber this afternoon – a budget he says he’s very proud of. The point of the presser, it quickly became clear, was to counter Democrats’ floor arguments that the proposal would decimate the state’s educational system.

“Facts are stubborn things,” Berger said. “Everybody’s entitled to their own opinions, but they’re not necessarily entitled to their own facts.”

The difference between Perdue’s education spending and the Senate plan “is 36 million dollars. It’s one half of one percent,” Berger said. And with the Senate’s additional $45M lottery set-aside for school construction, “It’s actually more money for K-12 education than the governor’s budget provides.”

“You hear a lot of folks out there now who ought to know better saying that that’s not the case. And I think that that’s unfortunate.”

“Are there cuts to K-12 education? Yeah, there are cuts to K-12 education," Berger said. "But the important thing to remember is, her proposal cuts K-12 education as well. So I would encourage her to look at those facts and would encourage her to sign the budget.”

But Berger said the evolution of what appears to be a veto-proof majority in the House seems to be pushing Perdue in the opposite direction. “She does appear to be more desperate in how she’s characterizing things. And I think that’s unfortunate.”

“What they’ve done up to this point is make wild allegations about what’s going to happen, and up to this point, I don’t think their predictions have been entirely accurate.”

Berger was skeptical of Democratic claims that although the top-line numbers are close, they mask big differences in prioritizing where dollars should go. But he conceded that’s at least somewhat true in early education spending.

“Yes, there are reductions to Smart Start and More at Four. The dollars going to those programs will be less than the continuation budget proposed,” Berger said, but “in the context of the economic situation we’re facing, in the context of the dollars that are out there, these are cuts that are manageable.”

“I can accept and understand that there may be a difference of opinion about that,” Berger added, “but the ceiling’s not going to collapse, the sky’s not going to fall.” Phil Berger Berger defends budget deal

“We believe that early childhood education is an important part of overall educational opportunity, especially for at-risk kids,” he said. “What we’re differing on is what’s the appropriate level of funding.”

Watch the whole thing at right, and my apologies for the "Blair Witch" effects in the first minute or two. As I said, it was an unannounced presser, so I wasn’t set up to record when he started talking.


This blog post is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • lweaton Jun 4, 2011

    Why can't you people understand that there is no more money to spend? We have to learn to make do with what we have.

  • 1 awesome Dad Jun 3, 2011

    Ok Phil you have ran your mouth and ruined and altered lives for this budget so Monday you need to have your can out on television on how to get industry how to attract more businesses to NC that are will to do business in and with NC.

    So get your act together and do it. How more homeless and destitute are you going to use to further your next agenda.

    I can hear it now all the old folks who live in state funded assisted living have 14 days to get their mooching carcasses out if the governor doesnt do such and such. Get ready grandma keep your boxes handy and the number to Uhaul on the fridge as that day will come.

  • SARCASTICLES Jun 3, 2011

    So far, the only thing they've managed to do is push their fascist/rightwing agenda. The state budget had nothing to do with Federal Unemployment benefits. It's all an excuse to demonize the 50,000 hostages these goons are using as a tool to overthrow the governor. You sound like a Nazi. ;)

  • josephlawrence43 Jun 3, 2011

    So far, these new folks have done more to keep their promises about cutting spending, reducing government, etc..than the demos ever thought about doing...True-2012 is coming--but it will only serve to further remove the socialist/leftist elements from our legislature....and return government to the people..

  • Jun 3, 2011

    Purge them all out of office.....They have no clue

  • SARCASTICLES Jun 3, 2011

    No Phil, the sky ain't fallin'....but YOU will, as soon as we get the chance to vote you OUT. No Brag, Just Fact. ;)

  • jfreud Jun 3, 2011

    "The sky isn't falling?" Tell that to the people I know who have already lost their jobs and the children whose lives will be directly affected by your despicable budget. Your choices reflect your values.

  • stanmak Jun 3, 2011

    agian, its obvious that the 37000 was not a big enough number for the legislature, (or even worse) our governor to budge on this. bev is the one with egg on her face now, the r's picked up enough d's to override a veto. they plan to have it on bevs desk THIS SATURDAY/TOMORROW. benefits can be restored tomorrow. bev will probably sit on it for 10 days because she knows she cant win and it will be an embarrasment to watch her own party smack her down.

  • 1 awesome Dad Jun 2, 2011

    Well Phil the sky fell and collapsed on the thousands of folks you used to get your budget. The Sky fell when Roxanne, Tolisha, Andrew, and several others lights, telephone, groceries, and toiletries ran out. The sky fell when your cronies Apodaca, LaRoque, and others have ridiculed and made disparaging comments about the poor. Phil the sky fell for almost a half a million people when they lost their jobs and our leaders arent striving to get jobs and industry in NC, and our governor is too busy speaking in Washington on how to head to higher ground when a hurricane comes rather than talking about industry in NC.