Governor cans plans for new jet

EWN investigation prompts state to cancel multimillion dollar plans
Governor's Press Secretary Sherri Johnson says after Eyewitness News started asking questions, Governor Easley personally called Department of Commerce Secretary Jim Fain and told him the state will not be buying a plane because of the current economic situation.

The Cessna Citation Encore+ jet's price tag is normally $8,645,000. Options wanted by the state included a more than $17,000 Automatic Direction Finder System, a more than $17,000 upgrade to the interior and exterior of the plane, and more than $156,000 of "administrative fees". These options pushed the jet's price tag to $9,089,463.

The Governor's Press Office says the Department of Commerce is trying to get back a $250,000 deposit paid earlier this summer.

Just yesterday, Easley said he might have to order state agencies to cut their budgets by 2 to 3 percent because of the economic crisis.

The state currently owns three aircrafts: a jet, a turbo-prop plane and a helicopter. According to the Department of Commerce, the cancelled jet was supposed to replace the turbo-prop plane.

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