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Perdue keeps pressing for tax increase for schools

Posted March 29, 2012 12:39 p.m. EDT
Updated March 29, 2012 1:54 p.m. EDT

— Gov. Beverly Perdue on Thursday resumed her public lobbying for a sales tax increase to generate more money for North Carolina's public schools.

Perdue praised members of the North Carolina Association of School Administrators for navigating school districts through three years of difficult state budget cuts. Still, she said, another round of cuts expected for 2012-13 would be too much for schools to absorb.

The governor plans to ask lawmakers to approve a temporary 0.75-cent increase in the state sales tax rate, which she said would raise an estimated $750 million for education.

"I believe our children are worth a fraction of a cent. I've done the polling myself – I've seen the polling data from throughout the state – and the people of North Carolina believe the children are worth a fraction of a cent," she said. "This should not be a political argument. This should be a policy decision that benefits the future workforce of this state."

Republican legislative leaders say they won't consider raising taxes for any reason, calling Perdue's proposal "dead on arrival."

Perdue isn't seeking re-election this fall. She said she made that decision so she could fight for education funding without being accused of playing politics.

The leading Democratic candidates to succeed her, Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, former Congressman Bob Etheridge and Orange County Rep. Bil Faison, have expressed support for raising taxes for education, while the top Republican candidate, former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, said he doesn't support a tax increase.