North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue lost her budget battle yesterday as the legislature was successful in its effort to override her historic budget veto. In a first ever move of its kind, Governor Bev Perdue vetoed the budget measure passed by both houses citing excessive cuts and potential jobs lost in the state. The legislature was able to rouse majorities in both houses to override the move and pass the budget. The vote to override was strictly along party lines.
The budget debate was largely focused on education spending and whether the state should extend a temporary 1-cent sales tax increase which helps cover the cost of education in the state. The Republican controlled legislature was against the increase and the new budget will go forward without it. Educators claim that by ending the tax they will be forced to cut teacher and teacher assistant positions. Republicans have countered by noting that they left in provisions to hire new teachers and plan to pursue a performance based payment plan.
The budget includes allocations for merit raises, and lawmakers will be looking at models for measuring teacher performance. However, it also includes deep cuts to early childhood programs and local districts are still faced with a $124 million budget gap which are already leading to layoffs.
Republicans celebrated their victory Wednesday saying that they fulfilled their campaign promises not to raise taxes. Along with the end of the one-cent tax for education the budget also allows some temporary taxes on high earners in the state expire.