State News

Senate Republicans wonder what taxes are in budget plan

Posted April 7, 2009

State budget

— Senate Republicans complained Tuesday that the $20 billion budget proposal rolled out Monday by the Democratic majority was crafted in secret and that the vote on the package is being rushed.

Budget-writers unveiled their two-year spending plan Monday, noting that it was more than $900 million less than the proposal Gov. Beverly Perdue came up with three weeks ago. The Senate proposal would add two students to the average public school classroom, saving the state $320 million, and would lay off 711 state workers and keep another 900 positions vacant.

Perdue, a former teacher, is opposed to increasing class sizes, and her plan called for eliminating 1,033 positions, some of which are vacant.

Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger Senate Republicans question taxes in budget

One thing not spelled out in the Senate proposal is the source of $580 million in expected new revenue. GOP officials balked at that Tuesday, saying they didn't want to vote on a budget without knowing what new taxes were being considered.

"It's just on the line item as tax adjustments. Well, that can be just about anything," Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger said.

The Democratic leadership insisted the budget vote is on the big picture. The question of how to generate additional tax revenue is done by a different committee, they said.

"It is the finance team. They're not done with their work yet," said Sen. A.B. Swindell, D-Nash, co-chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. "Usually, yes, you do have the two offered together, but there's no reason why you can't move the appropriations bill."

That approach doesn't sit well with Berger, R-Rockingham, and his Republican colleagues.

"'Trust me. It'll be OK. Don't worry about it. Don't look behind that curtain. You don't need to be worried about that.' Those are the kind of words you hear from somebody who is trying to hide something," he said.

Democrats said they aren't hiding anything. Once the tax plan is unveiled, senators will vote again, and Swindell said the overall budget would return back to square one if that vote failed.

"If you're not for the finance package when that comes, you vote against it," he said. "There's a lot of time for a lot to change. That's why it'll take a couple months to get it done and worked out."

Berger also complained that the proposal was headed for a floor vote on Wednesday. That gives most senators less than two days to review the 337-page bill and amendments, and he called for delaying the vote until next week.

As the Senate Appropriations Committee reviewed the spending plan Tuesday, Sen. Vernon Malone, D-Wake, said he doesn't apologize for the education spending reductions that had to be made.

The plan also freezes the rate paid by doctors and hospitals to see Medicaid patients and reduces by nearly half funds to help patients so they can live at home.


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  • whatusay Apr 8, 2009

    The republicans should boycott the voting process and picket with signs reading "The Democrats are destroying our state".

  • White Eagle Apr 8, 2009

    So the Dems have put together a plan of goodies that they want passed and once that is done, then they will come up with a payment plan. Hmmm, so if the Republicans don't like the payment plan and vote against it, the Dems will wail that the Republicans are holding things up and it's all their fault that things are getting worse. Sounds like a plan for bipartisan cooperation to me. NOT!

  • mep Apr 7, 2009

    Apparently our State Senate is taking lessons from the Obama administration.... don't look at the bill, don't read the bill, and if you don't agree with the bill your un-American, just vote! And never forget WE won the election!

  • joco cruiser Apr 7, 2009

    and would lay off 711 state workers and keep another 900 positions vacant.

    Why not get rid of 711 vacant positions and keep 189 vacant positions?

  • ranquick Apr 7, 2009

    There is no way that anyone in Raleigh SHOULD vote for this if they do not know where or what they are agreeing to. As I always said the Feds give it back NC STate takes it away and then more! Look in the mirror and you will see a whole bunch of Thiefs and Crooks in Raleigh

  • Wheelman Apr 7, 2009

    Sorry, Southern Fried Yankee, you're right when it comes to the Fed gov., but when it comes to this state both parties are not responsible. The Democrats have held the power in the legislature for about the last 100 years so this lands in their laps.

  • Southern Fried Yankee Apr 7, 2009

    Ya wanna know what taxes are going up....Here they are, road use, gasoline, liquor, tobacco, license plates, sales, property, excise, and income. "Fees" and "Permits" will also rise.....

    Remember, folks, both parties are just as guilty in this mess and if you think YOUR ox isn't going to be gored, guess again.

  • batcave Apr 7, 2009

    NC Republicans should be used to this by now, this is SOP for local Dems, we are the highest taxed state in the south east. Remember the Lottery?

  • Wheelman Apr 7, 2009

    Did you people just wake up today to find that the Democrats have screwed this state? You voted for them, and have been voting them into power in this state for over 100 years. Bev is just carrying on the Democrat tradition of tax, spend and waste that they have perfected. Four years ago the budget was an inflated 17.4 billion and we had a 2 billion surplus. What do you think the Democrats did with it? They spent all of it and increased the budget 21 percent over 4 years. How many of you have seen your income increase 21 percent over that same period? I know mine hasn't, and I doubt many of your have either! But, you wait...when the elections come around again, you'll put them right back in office. It's like handing a robber your gun and then complaining when they shoot you with it.

  • PaulRevere Apr 7, 2009

    Like father (Obama), like daughter ("Bev").