State News

Perdue to pitch budget plan

Posted March 17, 2009 4:02 a.m. EDT
Updated March 17, 2009 7:19 a.m. EDT

— After writing state budgets as a legislator, Gov. Bev Perdue now tries her hand at a spending proposal as North Carolina's chief executive.

Perdue was to release her budget plan Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. to the General Assembly as the state faces its worst economic conditions in a generation.

As more people cut back on spending, the state is seeing less tax revenue. Budget experts predict an estimated  $3.4 billion budget shortfall for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Federal stimulus funds are expected to fill $1.7 billion of that gap, but the rest will be made up with cuts to state services and new sources of revenue. Perdue is expected to ask for cuts of 10 to 15 percent from most state agencies.

“We must continue to move North Carolina forward even in these challenging times," Perdue said Thursday.

"It is unlike anything we have seen before," Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand, D-Cumberland, said. "It is truly significant pain."

The governor has said her budget would attempt to protect public education and create and retain jobs.

She said the state's share of federal stimulus money would help raise overall education spending by $350 million.

"In my budget, I will make targeted investments to create jobs and prepare North Carolina to be an economic leader as our nation recovers," she said.

"Helping small businesses compete more effectively, developing our work force and fostering innovation and entrepreneurship are all vital to a strong business climate.”

Last week, the governor outlined job-creation initiatives in her budget. She plans to ask for:

  • More than $17 million for community college and vocational education courses and programs focused on job training
  • $5 million to encourage the growth of North Carolina businesses that focus on using fuel and other natural resources more wisely and effectively
  • $3 million for expanding North Carolina’s defense and aerospace industry to create jobs
  • More than $47 million to maximize federal resources for water, sewer and other similar infrastructure projects;
  • $7 million to create a comprehensive economic development tool to drive regional job creation in small and medium-sized towns and cities
  • More than $1 million to invest in marketing the state as a business and tourism destination.

The Legislature will review the plan as it shapes a budget for the two years starting July 1.