Lawmakers got milk but no budget

July 9, 2009 5:43:40 AM PDT
NC legislators competed in a milk-chugging contest for charity Wednesday.

The state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said the event was held to raise awareness about North Carolina's dairy industry. The milk chugging contest is kind of an annual General Assembly tradition.

The contest was open to elected officials, lobbyists and representatives of the dairy industry and took place at the Legislative Building in Raleigh.

Each team consisted of three people. The Senate team won $200 for a selected charity. The House team won $100.

Despite the contest being a fundraiser, many were concerned legislators were not working on the state's budget that is eight days late.

Though state budget delays are nothing new for the General Assembly, some said this year was different as thousands of teachers want to find out if they will lose their jobs.

Governor Perdue claims the state is losing $5 million a day for every day the budget is not in on time.

"It is a slow laborious process," Perdue said. "I want it done fast. Teachers, parents, and communities are waiting to see what happens."

But even as the chair of the House AG Committee cheered on the milk contest, he said Perdue's latest call for $1. 5 billion in tax hikes had already soured.

"Well, I got the letter," Rep. Dewey Hill said. "I put DOA, which is dead on arrival. We can't do that."

Democrats previously agreed to $1 billion in tax increases.

But when asked directly if she would sign a budget with only two-thirds of the new taxes she asked for, Perdue did not say she would veto it.


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