State faces budget shortfall in billions

RALEIGH "I am not overconfident about the shortfall. It's going to be hard. It's going to be ugly," she said in an interview this week with the Triangle Business Journal.

Perdue and her staff have been crunching the numbers - trying to see how bad it will be when she takes office January 10. North Carolina's budget is required to be balanced by the state constitution, and that will likely mean major cuts.

The Governor-elect is not saying for now where those cuts will come, but she acknowledges there is pain ahead.

"Are state employees, our teachers, our parents, our elected officials, going to yell and scream at me? Take it to the bank, yeah. But, I've been yelled and screamed at. It doesn't bother me. I'm going to do what's right," she offered.

Outgoing Governor Mike Easley has already ordered state departments to cut spending by 5 percent.

Between now and the day she takes office, Perdue will invite business leaders from across the state to come together to talk about a stimulus plan to get the state economy back on track.

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