Local News

Budget Writers Paint Dire Financial Picture

Posted July 20, 2001 6:14 a.m. EDT

— State Democratic leaders say without a tax increase they may have to drop state employee pay increases, reduce teacher bonuses and eliminate cost-of-living increases for state government retirees.

They also discussed eliminating Governor Mike Easley's plan to reduce class sizes.

The Democrats are trying to build public support for a tax increase as the state faces a budget hole of at least 167 million dollars. The House and the Senate have already had to trim about 600 million dollars from their proposed budgets this year.

They have been trying to settle on a final budget as the state faces its worst financial crisis in ten years.

Republicans accuse the Democrats of trying to scare the public.

They say the state should consider less drastic cuts. They propose eliminating about two-thousand-900 vacant state jobs, cutting money to nonprofits and cutting money from school system central office staffs.