Perdue poised to sign controversial budget

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue is poised to sign the state's budget. It requires one more vote, scheduled for today, but it is expected to pass.

If all goes according to plan, this will be the first time in seven years that North Carolina will have a budget in place before the fiscal year starts.

But that doesn't mean law makers are happy with it.

Perdue has said she's proud of the nearly $19 billion spending plan - one major reason why is because it avoids cutting teacher jobs.

In fact, the budget does not include many of the deep cuts citizens were warned about, and that's where the concern comes in.

Republicans say Democrats didn't cut enough and didn't deal with next year's deficit, which is assured, because tax increases adopted last year will expire and federal stimulus money will run out.

And economists say the deficit could reach $3 billion.

N. C. GOP Chair Tom Fetzer says, "there were no tough decisions made in it. The budget is very irresponsible - it's this legislature passing onto the people who will succeed it a $3 billion dollar shortfall, which is just unconscionable."

But Democrats say they did what they could with what they had.

"We're glad to see it done," says Andrew Weiland, executive director of the N. C. Democratic party. "This was a difficult economic time both here in NC, around the country, and around the globe."