Gov. vetos Balanced Budget Act of 2011

February 22, 2011 4:40:31 PM PST
Governor Bev Perdue vetoed Senate Bill 13 on Tuesday afternoon at the Capitol.She put the veto stamp on the Balanced Budget Act of 2011, which did not come as a surprise to disappointed Republicans, because Perdue had been hinting for weeks about her decision.

It was her first veto of the legislative session and only her second during her administration.

The Balanced Budget Act of 2011 would have clawed back money this year so less would have to be cut next year by giving the governor additional authority to require cuts from agencies she usually can't touch and by stripping about $300 million from state funds to pay down the deficit -- that's the part Perdue says she couldn't abide.

Click here to read the bill

"This bill started out as a way to help North Carolina secure $400 million in additional savings from state government agencies during this difficult budget time," Perdue said. "I suggested that bill to the General Assembly and was ready to sign that legislation. But the bill in its current form forces a one-time cash-grab from funds that are intended to create jobs and spur economic development. That's not the right move for North Carolina, where jobs simply must be our No. 1 priority."

The bill has been widely criticized as harmful to the state's efforts to attract businesses and grow jobs. Leaders say if the incentive funds disappear, hundreds of jobs will go elsewhere.

But Republicans point out the bill wouldn't have bankrupted any of those funds and they say balancing the budget should be job number one.

"We've got a $2.7 billion hole that we must fill," Rep. Nelson Dollar said. "And if the governor is serious about solving that problem, rather than raising taxes on families, hopefully she'll reconsider."

Republicans have pledged not to continue the state's temporary sales tax hike, which Perdue included in her proposed budget. So, they'll need to find another $800 million in additional savings and Perdue's veto will make that much harder.

However, Democrats in the House say they think they've got the numbers to keep an override attempt from happening.

"I don't see any votes changing on the Democratic side right now and there are enough to uphold her veto," Rep. Rick Glazier said.

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