State News

Perdue: Stimulus money could head off 'draconian cuts'

Posted January 14, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

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— Gov. Beverly Perdue on Wednesday urged North Carolina's congressional delegation and members of President-elect Barack Obama's incoming administration to earmark funds for the state in a proposed national stimulus package.

Gov. Beverly Perdue Perdue asks for stimulus money

In meetings with Obama's transition team, U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Kay Hagan and the state's 13 U.S. House members, Perdue outlined North Carolina's needs and said she and lawmakers would have to make "draconian cuts" to the state budget without federal help.

Fiscal analysts are projecting a $2 billion deficit in the state budget, and Perdue signed an executive order Tuesday directing officials to give her cost-cutting options by the end of the week.

Money from the stimulus package could help fill that hole in the budget, she said, calling such aid a present to her on her 62nd birthday.

"I can find $1 billion. I found it (Tuesday) in two hours," she said. "I can tell you pretty quickly where I'm going to go first to find $1 billion of our shortfall. I can't find another $1 billion."

Perdue also released a list of the state's infrastructure priorities, saying North Carolina could put $6 billion to work on highway, airport and other transportation projects and another $3.5 billion for construction projects like prisons and university buildings. Such projects would create thousands of jobs, she said.

"The economic situation we're in is going to require a stimulus that requires the broadest number of taxpayer citizens possible, and I'm pleased the governor's list does that," Seventh District Congressman Mike McIntyre said.

Perdue said Obama's representatives inspired more confidence about prospects for federal help because some members of the congressional delegation expressed skepticism about the stimulus package. She declined to provide names.

"I certainly don't feel as good about where we are here as to where we are with the Obama team," she said after meeting with the House delegation. "We were there almost an hour where we worked in detail on North Carolina's positions and why we need two pots of assistance."

Hagan, who previously worked with Perdue as a state senator, said she would do what she could to help the governor.

"We have worked so closely together for years, and we'll continue working hard," Hagan said.

Perdue also has said she would like Congress to increase the federal government's Medicaid share, extend food stamp benefits and provide training for displaced workers.

Wake County homebuilders also went to Washington Wednesday to speak with lawmakers. They said they don't want a bailout, but instead want tax credits and other incentives to encourage people to buy houses.

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  • Bendal1 Jan 15, 2009

    HadEnough,

    You're entitled to your opinion; certainly DOT has had its share of mistakes in the past and I'm not trying to defend them. But, this state maintains the nations' second largest road network, so it will tend to have a large budget and manpower need to do the job adequately.

    If you think DOT could get by with only 2/3 of the current manpower, well, like I said, you're entitled to your opinion. If that were to happen, though, I'm sure you'd be one of the first ones on these forums whining and complaining about roads not being maintained, projects being delayed, and too many heavily congested roads.

    Hey, I know, let's go to YOUR place of work and cut employment and budget by 1/3! Let's see how well that works!

  • HadEnough Jan 15, 2009

    Bendal1 it is obvious you work for DOT. If I had been elected Governor, my first mission would have been to bust up DOT and fire at least one third of the staff including every exempt position. DOT is nothing but a money pit. The gravy train is over.

  • Bendal1 Jan 15, 2009

    State government already has a hiring freeze, put into place last fall by Easley. Temporary workers have already been laid off by DOT; "fine", you'll say, until you realize that most of those temporary workers drive the trucks that salt and scrape the roads when it snows.

    Oh, and DOT is so short of maintenance money that stocks of brine and salt are already short (no money to buy them when no one needed them), and guardrail can't be repaired quickly either.

    Guess that's OK with all of you saying "cut half of state workers, they don't do anything anyway", right?

  • jsanders Jan 15, 2009

    It's a sick system when businesses and families are having to tighten our belts, but state officials and lobbyists all across the nation are spending so much time and money trying to capture "free" money from the federal government, which of course is completely taken from the businesses and families already having to tighten our belts to deal with the economic downturn: http://www.johnlocke.org/lockerroom/lockerroom.html?id=18548

  • kurthesse Jan 15, 2009

    Draconian cuts are needed anyway - absolutely...! We could probably fire half the state workers, focus on what the state really needs to do, forget the "oh, isn't that nice" and "gotta keep those votes bought" garbage, and everybody would be a lot better off. My $0.02.

  • ContinuityMan Jan 15, 2009

    Ah, Mary Easley's $80k raise. It's a favorite topic among Republican state employees. Both of us. ;-)

  • ContinuityMan Jan 15, 2009

    From the context of this news story, "draconian" equates to "entitlement programs".

    BTW, why does our state need all those overlapping "Head Start" programs? There's about fifteen of them, no kidding. I can imagine what the administrative overhead must be...

  • meh2 Jan 15, 2009

    Draco was misunderstood.

  • Beachnut Jan 15, 2009

    Imposing a "hiring freeze" hardly qualifies as "draconian". To survive this downturn, many businesses must resort to draconian measures such as getting more efficient, cutting projects, laying off staff, etc.

    State government will cut down on cookies at meetings and impose a "hiring freeze" (which any seasoned bureaucrat can get around with a wink and a nod).

    Hang on to your wallets, folks!

  • JustAGuyInNC Jan 15, 2009

    When I have to cut back at home I don't call my budget cuts "draconian." I call it "doing what you gotta do." However, when the government is compelled to keep spending in line with their earnings (which is what we commoners do on a monthly basis) they find the most damaging rhetoric available and use it to scare the populace.

    I think the State needs to do what all of its citizens do in times like this and that is tighten their belts and practice some fiscal discipline.

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