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Perdue's budget includes sales tax, salary increases

Posted May 10, 2012

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— Gov. Bev Perdue unveiled a $20.9 billion budget proposal Thursday that includes a three-quarter-cent sales tax increase for education and a 1.8 percent average salary increase for teachers and state employees, who haven't had a raise in four years.

"This budget, from my perspective, is very ambitious," she said. "It underscores, for me, the priorities of what this state's all about."

In her final budget proposal as North Carolina's chief executive, Perdue's spending plan has the markings of a last stand against the Republicans when it comes to public education. Her plan adjusts the second year of a two-year budget the Legislature approved in 2011 over her veto.

school, math School cuts loom unless legislators act

Perdue is leaving office at the end of the year, and she hopes the sales tax increase will restore spending cuts to the public schools made by Republicans. The proceeds would help eliminate mandated cuts for local school districts that are projected to reach $500 million.

Republicans in charge of the Legislature have said they aren't considering higher sales taxes this year, especially since they ran on a platform in 2010 to do away with a temporary penny sales tax created by Democrats in 2009. The GOP allowed it to expire last July despite Perdue's recommendation to leave most of it in place.

Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, released a statement Thursday, saying the governor's proposal "could shatter our fragile economic recovery."

"Governor Perdue’s budget would force North Carolina families and businesses to pay nearly $1 billion in new job-killing taxes," Berger said. "We must break state government’s habit of throwing money at problems and adopt innovative solutions and meaningful reforms. The cycle of irresponsible taxing, borrowing, and spending must stop.”

Perdue pushes again for education in budget Perdue pushes again for education in budget

Throughout the 192-page budget book, Perdue notes that much of her new spending would restore cuts made by lawmakers in 2011. With the exception of a handful of tax credits targeted to small businesses and specific industries, it does not create new programs or layout a new agenda.

"The budget, from my perspective, is very ambitious," Perdue said. "It speaks to the future of North Carolina. It speaks to an investment in education, which is the hallmark of our state...All the initiatives I've been such a part of are continued in this budget." 

Asked about the legislature's resistance to any tax increase, Perdue said she hoped lawmakers would see the need for the expanded spending she has proposed.

"I'm hopeful they will not consider this budget dead on arrival," she said.

Asked the same question, Perdue budget adviser Andy Willis said the sales tax was not the only way lawmakers could find extra money for education.

"There are other ways to get to that number without the sales tax," Willis said. However, he would not enumerate what those options might be.  

“Gov. Perdue’s budget proposal is, disappointingly, more of the same failed approach that led to the fiscal mess the Republican legislative majority inherited," House Speaker Thom Tillis said in reaction to Perdue's proposal. 

Perdue's budget proposal provides a net increase of $562 million to public schools, most of which would be used to eliminate flexibility cuts that school districts have had to make over the past several budget cycles. She plans to require local school districts to invest that funding in teachers, teaching assistants and other aspects of the classroom.

While Perdue would raise the sales tax, she would cap the state's gas tax at 37.5 percent for one year. Currently, drivers pay 38.9 cents per gallon. 

The budget proposal also includes:

  • $503 million to reverse flex cuts to public schools
  • $92 million to reduce class size in kindergarten through third grade
  • $10 million for hand-held reading diagnostic tools
  • $145 million to boost funding for universities, $35 million of which would go toward financial aid
  • $53 million to boost funding for community colleges
  • A tax credit for companies that hire unemployed workers.
  • Programs to boost the film and clean energy sectors.
  • Tuition assistance for veterans and dependents at North Carolina community colleges and universities. 
542 Comments

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  • grandmadof8 May 15, 2012

    DO NOT "PASS" THE SALES TAX INCREASE FOR ANY REASON

    "The tax suck hole is the state retiremnt fund, it is killing the tax payers. Stop the retirement fund, make state employees do as everyone else has done, get a IRA, and pay for your own retirement"

    We, as state employees do pay for our retirement. We aren't asked if we would like a retirement fund, we are told when we are hired they we will pay into our retirement fund. What uninformed person told you that we don't? People need to talk about what they know about instead of what they hear from uninformed sources!!!!

  • piene2 May 15, 2012

    If Governor Perdue cut all taxes by fifty percent and funded all programs and services fully the Whiners would still be out in full force whining.

  • cars95474 May 14, 2012

    There were several comments about how charter schools outperform the public schools. I'm sure they do, for two reasons. 1) Discipline problems are not tolerated. If kids don't behave, they are sent back to public school and 2) Typically parents that make they choice to send their child to charter school are supportive of their child's education and stay involved. THIS is the key to academic success for many students.
    So of course the students at charter schools are going to have better grades. They have the parent support that they need to be successful!! The same can be said for the Dual Language program. These students outperform other classes. Well, of course they do. Students that are not doing well academically are taken out of the program since it is so fast paced. So of COURSE the score will be higher!

  • karbattle1 May 14, 2012

    Cut welfare.

  • ewcheercoach May 11, 2012

    storchheim- I agree with you. Kids should NOT be running the show, but administrators pander to the loudest parents and force us to give them what they want. And by administrators, I mean central offices. They give them whatever they want when they complain about how "mean and unfair" we are because that is easier than backing up their teachers.

    I don't think anyone is saying we deserve better than other professions, just that the contracts we signed and the conditions we were hired under have not been met. They cut out bonuses for good student EOG performance, froze pay, cut back on insurance, made us take on extra duties and now are cutting out our August paycheck. It's kind of like "What next?"

  • Plenty Coups May 11, 2012

    "as teachers as people are somehow better, and their time on Earth more important, than that of a lowly auto worker by virtue of having a college degree"

    Not better, but more education is required and they have more responsiblity and therefore all the benefits that go with it.

  • Plenty Coups May 11, 2012

    storcheim-"But he really is tiresome and it's not this one subject; he fights and fights and fights, just for the sake of being right and having the last word."

    Actually, I will continue to point out whenever you and others post lies by asking you to back it up. You never do. You resort to rhetoric and simplistic solutions like telling teachers to just go and get another job if they don't like the swill you're giving them. By law, that's how they have to receive raises, by asking the legislature to do so. You don't even want them to do that.

    "To quote one of his identities: "Sad, really.""

    I think you mean "entries" not "identities".

  • storchheim May 11, 2012

    I should note I am not anti-teacher. I had many more good ones than bad and thank g*d for them. I even thought about teaching myself because I loved a couple of subjects and those teachers made it look fun!

    I'm angry at the way kids are allowed to run the show at school and at home. I've cringed and bitten my tongue when hearing in the next cubicle a snotty mom on the phone with her snowflake's teacher, talking to them in rude, accusatory tones over and over and over. Maybe when there are no good teachers left, society will realize it wasn't such a good idea to put little Snotleigh in charge.

    I'm sure there are doctors retiring before Obamacare hits the scene. Builders have gone under. But the attitude that out of all those struggling, only a teacher can say, "Oh no, I've got MY degree, now fix things" - esp new teachers who have been watching (right?) and went in anyway - but the rest of us better give up nights and weekends for school, doesn't sit well.

  • storchheim May 11, 2012

    MakoII, I appreciate your tone, but I'm reading your statement as teachers as people are somehow better, and their time on Earth more important, than that of a lowly auto worker by virtue of having a college degree. (Even D'Jangoro over at UNC-CH?) Because they are better than others, the work world should adjust to them, but the unworthy, unimportant auto worker can suck it up and go to school. Is that what you think? If not, why the comparison to a "job" holder? That's offensive.

    Teachers should have to make the same adjustments any other person does when they realize they've picked the wrong career.
    What about discouraged doctors, lawyers, IT pros? I've known a handful of professionals who had degrees and made the sacrifices necessary to train for another career that required a 4-year degree or higher. There are no guarantees in any job field and teachers are no different.

  • meeper May 11, 2012

    Hey don't everyone get upset, Bev is just being who she is. A Democrat! That means more taxes, more loss of freedom,and bigger government. Besides,since we're doing away with Democrats in this state, this will probably be the last time one gets to try and raise taxes.

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