Dems say more cuts before more taxes

March 18, 2009 5:09:02 PM PDT
Some influential Democrats say North Carolina can slash more from the budget before raising taxes.Governor Beverly Perdue announced her budget proposal at a news conference on Tuesday. She's cutting over $300 million, slashing 14 hundred jobs and closing seven prisons to fill a $3 billion hole.

But, even some Democratic allies wonder if she goes far enough.

"She didn't cut as much as I thought she was going to cut or she should cut," offered Rep. Mickey Michaux (D) Durham.

Mickey michaux will have lots of say on a budget which passes the House. He says lawmakers need to think about furloughing state employees to save $50 million a day.

"As long as you keep your job, I don't think anyone would object to a day furlough here," he said.

Perdue wants to protect education, but some of her fellow Democrats are thinking about raising class sizes for teachers. Linda Garrou chairs the committee which writes the senate's version of the budget. She says adding one child to every classroom can save the state $160 million a year.

"That's a lot of money for one child in the classroom," she said. "That's a good cost savings. And that would make such a difference for us."

Perdue may not need Republican votes to pass a budget, but conservatives are still zeroing in on her attempt to raise cigarette and alcohol taxes.

"We're in the middle of a recession, which means the citizens don't have as much money. And they should not be asked to pay higher tax rates in the middle of a recession," said Rep. Paul Stam (R) Wake.

Increases to those so-called "sin taxes" are important to Perdue's budget because they would raise more than half a billion dollars the first year.


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