Governor Perdue reiterated her mantra of jobs and education this evening in her annual State of the State address, making various claims – which appeared to be at times contradictory – that she believes will pull our state out of the depths of recession. However, her speech was dominated more by lofty rhetoric and long-winded anecdotes than hard core assertions and calls to action.
Perdue seemed somewhat inconsistent in calling for a “smaller, more efficient government,” yet later refusing to make cuts on less critical positions like teaching assistants. In addition, she noted that there were teachers in North Carolina who failed to meet the “standards of excellence”, but she demonstrated an unwillingness to let go of even the lowest performing teachers in the public education system.
While not specifically addressing the senate bill passed last week that would bring budget cuts to economic incentive programs JDIG and One NC, Gov. Perdue emphasized the necessity of “using all the tools in our tool box”, to attract jobs to the state and expressed her fondness of economic incentives. Her language seemed to indicate that a veto of SB 13 is not unlikely, which would only exacerbate the task of balancing the budget for the General Assembly.
Additionally, Gov. Perdue made a welcome and surprising announcement that she desired to lower the uncompetitive Corporate Income Tax rate from its current level of 6.9 percent (the highest in the southeast), to a more business friendly 4.9 percent.
Gov. Perdue’s budget is expected to be presented later this week.