Perdue to take education funding fight to people
Posted January 30, 2012
Updated January 31, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — Gov. Beverly Perdue says she plans to get all of North Carolina in her corner as she presses Republican lawmakers for more school funding.
Perdue decided last week not to run for re-election this fall so she could focus her energies on increasing state spending on public schools, including a possible 0.75-cent increase to the state sales tax rate.
"This is going to be a discussion that I'm going to take to the people of North Carolina," Perdue said Sunday in an exclusive one-on-one interview with WRAL News anchor David Crabtree.
"I intend to use the bully pulpit like I've never used it before," she said. "I'm going to make it clearly apparent that we're the grown-ups in this, and it's up to us to decide if North Carolina is going to go forward or backward."
The former teacher said she had to remove herself from the campaign process so school funding didn't become a "political wedge issue."
"This isn't Republican-Democrat. I hope that every Republican out there thinks about this. I hope every Democrat and independent thinks about it," she said.
The Republican-controlled General Assembly slashed millions in school spending last summer in an effort to erase a budget deficit, and lawmakers allowed a temporary one-cent increase to the sales tax rate to expire.
Perdue and Democrats in the legislature lobbied unsuccessfully for extending the tax to avoid deep spending cuts.
"You cannot have a school system work without resources," Perdue said. "You must have qualified teachers, you must have teaching assistants, and you're desperately in need of good principals."
She said she will use her veto power as needed to keep the legislature in check and push her education agenda through the General Assembly.
"If, at the end of the day, this bunch in charge in Raleigh decides not to invest in our schools, then the people are going to know that," she said.