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Associated Press

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue has dismissed an invitation by legislative leaders to debate her sales tax increase proposal, calling it a political stunt.

Perdue Press Secretary Chris Mackey said Tuesday the pitch by Senate leader Phil Berger and later House Speaker Thom Tillis for Perdue to hold a public forum with them is designed to distract attention from what Republicans have done to public education.

The Democratic governor announced last week her budget for next year would raise the sales tax by three-quarters of a penny to make up for the GOP-led Legislature’s decision last year to let expire a penny increase. Perdue wants the proceeds to restore education cuts.

Republicans have panned her idea but Berger said the public would benefit greatly from a debate.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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