"The public does not want $1.5 billion in new taxes. In fact, my general sense of it is they wanted us to cut our way to a balanced budget," offered Rep. Bill Faison, D - Orange County.
But a handful of key Democrats are crunching the numbers on ways to raise taxes. Senate Democrats think they can come up with $900 million more by actually lowering income tax and sales tax rates - but also expanding the types of transactions eligible for sales tax.
"Broadening the base and lowering the rates," explained Senator David Hoyle, D - Gaston County.
Hoyle suggests adding sales tax to 55 different services and activities like bowling, landscaping, a round of golf, even tickets to a NASCAR race.
"This is not my plan. I take no pride of authorship. We have tweaked it, worked it," he said.
The Senate plan would also raise so-called sin taxes on tobacco and alcohol, but not as much as Perdue has suggested.
"The Governor proposed $1 a pack on cigarettes. Well, you can't do that. We would have black marketing. We would have organized crime here," said Hoyle.
And lawmakers may not raise a full billion dollars in new taxes because many think education can be cut more. Many don't agree with Perdue when she says class sizes should not be increased.
"We'll probably make recommendations for two more kids in each classroom," said Hoyle.
"I went through a school that there were never more than 32 kids to a class. And kids that came out of that educational process did well," said Faison.