Thursday, June 2, 2011

Perdue puts on budget boxing gloves

Gov. Bev Perdue is on a tear about the Republican dominated legislature's budget proposals. Perdue has been scooting all around the state with her "Education Works" tours to call attention to education cuts.

This week she got really riled up about the Senate Republicans budget plan, calling it a "charade" several times in a late afternoon press briefing Tuesday. In a new budget plan released Tuesday, Republican leaders presented a plan that deletes deep cuts to teacher assistants and keeps more money to hire 1,100 teachers for grades 1-3. The plan which has the backing of at least five Democrats was billed as one to withstand a possible Perdue veto.

Perdue said the plan, which Democrats say cuts $1billion from education, passes on huge costs to local school districts. It's just a "shuffling around of money," an attempt to "paper over the devastation to education and other important programs," she said.

She was joined in that assessment by Senate Democratic Leader Martin Nesbitt who called the plan "a direct assault on public school education." On top of that, he said the N.C. Department of Public Instruction says the cuts would eliminate 9,300 public school jobs, including teachers, teacher assistants and principals. It would also drop North Carolina to 49th in per pupil funding, below - gasp! - South Carolina and Mississippi.

Perdue wasn't done. On Thursday, she fired off a letter to GOP Speaker of the House Thom Tillis with some tart words about "budget gimmicks" such as passing on costs to local school districts by requiring the districts to make deeper cuts in their budgets. She also urged again maintaining three-fourths of a one-cent sales tax that is set to expire this year in order to avoid "endanger[ing] the education, health, and public safety for our citizens."

To buttress her point about the harm to school districts, she e-mailed news organizations her assessment of the impact of Senate budget. Mecklenburg County would have to make $39.8 million in state cuts next year, she said. Cabarrus County would face $8.4 million, Gaston County, $9 million and Union County, $11.5 million. Guilford County (Greensboro) would face $20.8 million in cuts, Forsyth County (Winston-Salem) $15.3 and Wake County, $42.3 million.


Anonymous said...

North Carolina no longer needs 100 Counties along with all the associated government workers. Cut the state up into 25 or 30 counties, and get rid of all the overlapping government agencies, and you will miraculously find plenty of revenue for the schools. How simple is that?