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Friday August 19th

GOP legislators look to alter Perdue’s budget proposal

Legislators oppose tax extensions

Gov. Bev Perdue can expect some changes to her budget proposal as Republicans in the N.C. General Assembly prepare to take an active role in shaping the state’s budget.

The governor’s proposal failed to meet the position of the legislature, said Rep. Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke.

The key to forming the budget is identifying priorities, he said.

“It is not an issue of what you agree with, but setting priorities of what you can fund,” he said.

“So instead of her exercising leadership of her office, we will have to step up and do it for her.”

Although legislators have only recently begun to address the proposal, there are already aspects of it they are looking to change.

“There are still a lot of fundamental differences between her approach and ours,” said Rep. William Brawley, R-Mecklenburg. “There is a lot of work to be done.”

Blackwell said he is disappointed the proposal includes the extension of the temporary taxes that are already in place.

He said he had not wanted to find tax increases in the proposal.

“She is punting the football down the field and refusing to help the legislature make the reductions that we need to make in order to balance the budget,” Blackwell said.

The temporary tax is something Republicans have pledged to remove, said Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Montgomery.

“That is something that we don’t think you can do when in a recession,” he said.

“It takes the money out of the public’s hands.”

Rep. Alice Bordsen, D-Alamance, said she agrees with the extension of the taxes but the proposal will not pass without changes.

“The governor has outlined a good plan and great bill; however, it is a process that has to go through the General Assembly,” said Rep. Marcus Brandon, D-Guilford.

The final budget will likely be drawn from all of the different proposals, Bordsen said.

“There will be three budgets at the end of the day,” she said. “The House, Senate and governor’s.”

Bordsen said she also likes the stance the governor’s budget proposal is taking toward education and jobs.

“It was good in trying to preserve jobs and education,” Bordsen said.

“Education is key to getting through the budget.”

Perdue’s proposal calls for a 9.5 percent cut in the UNC system’s operating budget and 6 percent cut in overall budget.

The system had been preparing for an overall cut of up to 15 percent.

Brandon said he did not agree with the corporate tax cut the governor proposed.

“There has been no evidence that it creates jobs,” Brandon said. “Our problem in North Carolina is not a supply issue.

“It is a demand issue,” he said.

He said other revenue options need to be explored.

“One thing that is clear, it is going to still benefit corporations and those who are suffering the most are going to get cut,” Brandon said.

The formation of the budget needs to be a collaborative process, Brandon said.

“We need to come together — Republicans, Democrats and governor — and produce a plan that will be beneficial for the state of North Carolina.”

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