Perdue takes on budget problems

Governor Perdue's office says the state's massive budget shortfall is expected to hit $2 billion dollars. That's up from 1. 2 billion predicted earlier this year.

Perdue's office attributes the increased shortfall to; declining sales tax collections, corporate profits, a slumping stock market and high unemployment numbers.

The governor is hoping a new plan she signed Tuesday will help get the budget back on track.

The emergency order outlines several ways to help balance the budget and will be presented in further detail later this week.

Among them though, the office of the state budget and management could continue to reduce state spending with an effort to protect funding for education.

They could also halt spending for capital improvement projects not already under state contract, as well as, any money coming into the state but not directly into general fund could go to help the general fund.

And the state budget office could choose to delay or cancel any unnecessary material purchases.

The $700 million in improvement projects Former Governor Mike Easley approved last week does not affect this fiscal year's budget; it will be going to bonds repaid over the future. So the money is not coming out of the general revenue.

But there could be more savings for the state in the form of a stimulus package.

Governor Perdue will meet with congressional leaders and President-elect Barack Obama's transition team Wednesday, likely pushing for a piece of the proposed $800 billion national economic stimulus package.

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