Apparently Governor Perdue has been misled about the direction that this year’s budget will take North Carolina. The N&O reports that today, surrounded by school children while signing the budget, she remarked that “this budget puts our state on firm ground as we head toward the challenges of next year.”
Within the budget, there is appropriated an extra $14.2 million to service $175 million in debt (pg. L-1) that the state will take on this fiscal year without voter approval. This in spite of the fact that the NC Constitution requires voter approval (pg. 17). North Carolina is already more than $9 billion in debt. Note that the total budget this year spends in the area of $19 billion for a little perspective.
Additionally, the N&O reports that the budget deficit next year could climb as high as $3 billion, or approximately 16% of this year’s budget. Yet nothing was done to alleviate the monstrous oncoming structural deficit.
Governor Perdue should have apologized to the children surrounding her for signing a budget that allows the state to fall $175 million further into debt. Those children will have to pay for that debt with wealth they have yet to create. Furthermore, the $3 billion shortfall expected next year will likely result in massive cuts in education spending. The Governor believes, however, that this is “firm ground.” To believe that this budget puts North Carolina on “firm ground” would require a willing suspension of disbelief.