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Governor wants to cut $1 billion from budget

READ MORE: Governor wants to cut $1 billion from budget
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By GARY D. ROBERTSON
Associated Press Writer

RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- Gov. Bev Perdue's budget plan would cut nearly $1 billion for the coming year by eliminating programs and cutting Medicaid abuse.

Perdue on Tuesday unveiled her recommended changes for the second year of the two-year budget approved by the General Assembly last summer.

Most state agencies would have spending cut an additional 5 to 7 percent starting in July, except for education. Public schools would get money to buy hand-held devices to help teachers in lower grades assess student performance.

Teachers also would receive their longevity-based salary increases after they were suspended last year because of the bad economy. State employees and teachers would get a one-time bonus to make up for furloughs last year.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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THE FOLLOWING IS A NEWS RELEASE SENT TO THE WWAY NEWSCHANNEL 3 NEWSROOM FROM THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE...

Raleigh – Gov. Bev Perdue today released her proposed state budget for the 2010-2011 fiscal year. Released earlier than administrations in past years, Perdue’s budget makes critical investments in four key areas: jobs and the economy, education, setting government straight and safer communities. It cuts nearly $1 billion in spending and reallocates some $250 million to programs that will reform state government and continue to move the state forward through an economic recovery.

Spending cuts focused on programs and areas that were proven to be unproductive, wasteful or in need of greater efficiencies. Investments in technology to ferret out fraud, waste and abuse were also highlighted.

Highlights of the budget proposal include:

JobsNOW
· $15 million for a “Back to Work” Incentive Fund that will provide a direct rebate to small businesses that hire long-term unemployed workers.
· $250 per person credit for small businesses that provide health insurance to their employees.
· $22 million to establish the North Carolina Mobility Fund that will be used to address critical congestion bottlenecks and to improve our logistics capabilities.

Career and College – Ready, Set, Go!
· Protects class sizes for K-3, while giving local school systems the power to manage spending cuts.
· $39 million to provide teachers with hand-held diagnostic assessment devices in grades K-3 and grade 5.
· Fully funds enrollment growth and expands need-based financial aid at the university and community college levels.

Setting Government Straight
· Additional funding for the State Ethics Commission to ensure good government practices including an online personal financial interest disclosure system.
· Additional funding for the State Board of Elections to support campaign finance software that will improve the ease and reliability of filing, reporting and auditing campaign finance disclosure reports.
· $4 million for the Department of Revenue to target corporations that have outstanding tax liabilities. The initiative is expected to collect an estimated $110 million in additional tax revenue.
· Gov. Perdue’s crackdown on Medicaid fraud, waste and abuse is estimated to save over $35 million in 2010-11.
· Reduce spending by $20.5 million by linking inmate medical costs to the Medicare and Medicaid fee schedules.

Safer Communities

· $10 million to merge state criminal data records into one streamlined, comprehensive system, known as CJ LEADS.
· Funds to raise probation/parole officer salaries to improve the recruitment and retention of officers.
· Funding to establish statewide capacity for law enforcement to collect DNA at the time of felony arrests.

The budget also includes almost $1 billion in spending cuts. That total was achieved through efficiency measures, cutting waste and eliminating unproductive programs. Some cuts include:

· Reduce spending for most agencies by 5% to 7%.
· Education entities protected at less than 4% reductions.
· More than 600 positions eliminated.

In addition, Gov. Perdue’s budget ensures North Carolina’s financial security by earmarking $101.5 million to replenish the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

Click http://www.governor.state.nc.us/budget/ for the complete budget and supporting documents.

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