WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Gov. Bev Perdue announced this morning how she plan to close a multi-billion-dollar budget gap.
Her budget plan eliminates thousands of jobs and keeps most of a temporary states sales tax increase for the next two years. But if anyone came out on top with the governor’s budget, it’s teachers.
From her reduction in state programs to the elimination of thousands of jobs, Gov. Perdue has made her cuts, but thinks her budget will boost her top priorities like education and job creation.
In front of a room packed full of reporters and staff, Perdue Thursday presented her 2011-2013 budget plan, which showed a strong stance for education.
“We understand education is the difference maker in North Carolina, and that was the difference maker in my decisions about the budget,” Perdue said.
Perdue’s plan will cut more than $3 billion in spending, which includes eliminating 10,000 state jobs, a reduction in services, like lowering the number of services covered by Medicaid for example.
Despite all the cuts, Perdue was proud to announce that every current teacher and teacher assistant position will be preserved. It’s a move applauded by New Hanover County Rep. Susi Hamilton.
“I think she did exactly what she told the citizens of North Carolina what she was going to do,” Hamilton, a Democrat, said. “She cut major jobs out of the budget for state employees. She reduced the corporate tax rate and she provided for all of our teachers across the state as well as all of our job creation programs. I’m very pleased with her budget.”
Perdue’s budget also lowers the corporate income tax rate from 6.9 percent to 4.9 percent. That’s not enough for some Republicans.
“When I ran for this office I said we need to get ride of this corporate tax period,” Sen. Thom Goolsby (R-New Hanover) said. “It taxes businesses, and it’s passed right on to consumers. I agree with her at least wanting to lower it, but I want to see it gone.”
During Thursday’s news conference, Perdue acknowledged the criticism her budget will receive from some legislators, but she felt her budget does what needs to be done in the tar heel state.
“Today begins a long journey that I hope at the end of the road does what needs to be done in North Carolina: it resets government, increases our ability to create jobs and protects our core and future, which is education,” Perdue said.
Gov. Perdue said she’s looking forward to working with both Republican and Democrats on the state budget, but the governor said there is no wiggle room when it comes to protecting teacher jobs.