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Perdue visits New Hanover County, answers still sought

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Gov. Bev Perdue's visit to New Hanover County Monday was brief. It left some of the educators she was targeting for support with more questions than answers, as the state continues to figure out how to deal with a nearly $5 billion budget shortfall.

What the few dozen people, mostly educators, who gathered at New Hanover County's Minnie Evans Arts Center got was a Bev Perdue standard.

Kemmie and William Bayliss, both teachers, say while Perdue's story of coal miner's daughter turned governor is touching, they need more.

"We need solutions. We need dialogue between the people that are in the field, not just a bunch of politicians telling us what they think we want to hear," William said.

What Perdue told them Monday was to hold the state legislature accountable as it tries to figure out how to close the budget gap.

Teacher Robert Smith came all the way from Sampson County with his two daughters to see the governor.

"I believe she's probably our best ally," Smith said. "I've heard people say that Bev Perdue better enjoy her four years while she's in office. I think she's really gone out of her way to make sure educators are well taken care of."

The Baylisses, though, say the rumblings among their colleagues are disappointment in how Perdue has handled education so far, with few answers about how to fix things.

"Bottom line, should North Carolinians be prepared for tax increases? I think people all over America understand, just as at the federal level, there will be some discussions of revenue and likely some kind of tax increase," Perdue said.

But while the governor repeatedly said lawmakers must make "sharp, targeted cuts" and increase revenue, she never said where those cuts should be and how much taxes could go up.

"I didn't hear anything. I didn't hear anything except, 'You guys are the greatest,' 'You're wonderful,' and 'Write your legislator,'" Kemmie Bayliss said.

Perdue said she planned to meet with legislative leaders about the budget this afternoon after making another stop to talk to educators in Greenville.

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