Local Politics

Perdue: Less stimulus money means more budget cuts

Posted February 20, 2009 1:30 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:13 p.m. EDT

— After meeting with U.S. mayors on Friday, President Barack Obama plans to meet with governors on Monday to discuss the federal stimulus package.

The meeting comes during a gathering of the National Governors Association. North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue plans to talk with Obama about the state's financial needs during the meeting.

When Obama signed the $787 billion stimulus into law this week, Perdue expressed disappointment that North Carolina wouldn't get more than about $6.1 billion of the package.

She previously met with members of North Carolina's congressional delegation and other members of Congress to press for passage of the stimulus package, saying the state needs the federal money to create jobs and to help erase a $2 billion budget deficit.

Less stimulus money means more budget cuts, she said Friday during a meeting with nonprofit organizations at the McKimmon Center on the North Carolina State University campus.

"There are holes (in the budget) I thought I wouldn't have to plug," she said. "It's hard for me ... but again, we'll do what's right. We won't eat our seed corn. We'll keep investing in our future – in schools, in job creation, in job protection. We'll do it right.."

The economic picture is grim, Perdue said, citing record unemployment and declining tax revenue.

"The numbers continue to erode ... I continue to see job closings every week," she said. "(It's) painful – painful for the people of North Carolina."

Perdue last month ordered state agencies to cut spending by 7 percent and said a quick review of the state budget showed her where $1 billion could be cut.

She said Friday that she hopes to have a list of proposed cuts put together by Monday, but she said she has no plans to lay off state workers until all other options are explored.

"I refuse to consider, first off, furloughing or cutting people's jobs until I see some real cuts within the agencies," she said. "Both could happen, (but) furloughs are the last things on my list."