Perdue blocks budget

By Melissa Hankins - bio l email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The string that tied together the state legislature's big budget compromise just snapped. And the governor is not at all happy about it.

"The clock is ticking," Governor Bev Perdue said to the General Assembly in an impromptu press conference yesterday. "Do the job you were elected to do. And produce us a budget."

The governor scolded lawmakers for their proposed hike on income taxes, and shot down a nearly $1 billion dollar tax agreement that would have helped balance the state's out-of-whack budget.

Governor Perdue saying she's on the side of the working class -- she won't support an income tax surcharge.

"Who in the world thinks in these trying, challenging times for families that you can raise income tax?" she says.

But the governor's critics say she's grandstanding.

Here's why: her approval rates are down, her own tax hikes are unpopular, and when Perdue said the income tax proposal "stunned" her, lawmakers said that couldn't be true.

"Income tax of one form or another has always been on the table so I don't know why that would have been a shock, "said Senator David Hoyle, a Gastonia Democrat.

"Her people are at the legislative building day in and day out," added House Majority Leader Hugh Holliman. "Certainly it shouldn't have been a surprise to her staff people."

In fact, Perdue's aides said she was blindsided yesterday, but Hoyle says the governor's budget director was with him when he explained the income tax proposal to reporters on Tuesday.

"The press has had those proposals, because I've given them to them, so I can't imagine it was a shock to anyone," he said.

But hearings will start next week to rebuild the budget, and this time lawmakers say they want help.

"We're going to look at every option and every scenario. We're going to get testimony and people," Hoyle said. "We're going to get as many ideas from as many business leaders and civic leaders, people from around the state who have expertise in finance to tell us where should we go and how should we do it."