North Carolina budget talks continue

June 23, 2009 4:28:22 AM PDT
Talk of taxes and education cuts will continue on Tuesday in the North Carolina Legislature."We're putting our thoughts and feelings on the table. But we're not close to an agreement yet." Senator David Hoyle said.

Hoyle co-chairs the Senate Finance Committee and proposed a more than $900 million in new taxes on Monday as lawmakers struggle to bridge a huge budget shortfall and answer Governor Beverly Perdue's challenge not to cut education spending drastically.

Hoyle would like to add sales tax to 55 services and amusements not taxed before, like bowling, golf, and NASCAR tickets.

But he also wants to lower the over-all sales tax and income tax rates.

"We don't want to gore any one person's ox and leave other people unscathed," Hoyle said.

House Democrats have passed a budget rising over $700 million in taxes, partly by raising income taxes on the most affluent.

But Democrats are in the majority and they don't need any Republicans to pass a budget.

"It's kind of hard to include someone in negotiations when you know they are against your positions," Hoyle said. "It's sort of like putting the enemy in the army with you, a spy or something."

While lawmakers try to hammer out a tax plan to help protect the classroom, many are bracing for deep cuts.

"We have some colleagues whose jobs have been cut they're good teachers, great new teachers we see have to leave, so that's, that's hard," first grade teacher Debra Curley said.

Curley also said larger class sizes would be harder for teachers too. Bigger classes could mean cutting about 5,000 teachers and 4,500 teaching assistants would be cut too.

There's also talk about raising tuition at UNC schools and community colleges by $200 or 8 percent, whichever is less.

"There's just no way we can look at a $4 billion shortfall and not do some cutting that's going to hurt us in some way," Senator Tony Foriest said.

Finance leaders will continue to talk taxes on Tuesday, while education committees will also meet to discuss budget plans.

Lawmakers need to pass a budget by July 1.


Load Comments