Lawmakers need more time to approve budget

RALEIGH The Senate approved a second stopgap spending plan Monday night because the final budget won't make Wednesday's deadline.

Now, the plan will go to the House for approval. Meanwhile, lawmakers will continue working on a state budget that won't make everyone happy.

Governor Bev Perdue said she wants action. "Go to work and to do this job quickly," she told lawmakers last week.

She told fellow Democrats two things. First, compromise on ways to increase taxes and pass a spending plan.

Second, she told them $1 billion in tax hikes won't do.

"It takes about $1.5 billion to do what has to be done for public schools and the services of this state," she added.

Thousands of public school teachers wonder if lawmakers will increase class sizes and cut their jobs.

Last week Perdue presented what she calls a Pathway to save Vital Services with a $1.5 billion tax hike.

Half of the total would come with an emergency 1 percent sales tax increase, which would expire in a year.

Some Democrats in the General Assembly have debated tax hikes in private meetings, but Republicans want public debates with the Perdue.

While those debates are not likely, Perdue stands by her calculation and previously told the state that it loses $5 million dollars every day the budget is late.

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