North Carolina legislature passes Balanced Budget Act
By Greg Janetka
February 9, 2011 - Gov. Perdue announces the budget gap shrank by $1 billion
RALEIGH, North Carolina: This week the GOP-led North Carolina General Assembly passed Senate Bill 13, the Balanced Budget Act of 2011. It is the first major piece of legislation that the legislature has sent to Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue since the session began two weeks ago.
The Balanced Budget Act would not actually balance the budget, but instead is a measure intended to shrink the budget gap projected for Fiscal Year 2012, which begins on July 1. The bill aims to save around $540 million from the current budget and reserves. Included in this is $160 million, which, according to bill co-sponsor Sen. Thomas Goolsby (R), will come "from various unspent, unencumbered monies from different state pots."
According to Democrats, however, this money involves funds taken from successful economic development programs, including the Golden Leaf Foundation, One North Carolina Fund and Job Development Investment Grants. Perdue, who has not said whether she will veto the bill, criticized this aspect of it, stating, "This piece of legislation attacks the capacity of the governor and the secretary of commerce to do the job of job creation. So if you're cutting jobs money, what you're doing is cutting jobs for the people of North Carolina and I think that's inexcusable."
The Senate passed the bill on February 7 by a margin of 31-16, while the House passed it on February 10 along party lines, 66-51. The day before it passed the House, Gov. Perdue announced via YouTube that, due to careful management and investments, the projected budget shortfall was cut by $1 billion, bringing the total gap down to $2.7 billion.