In battling Republican lawmakers over the budget, Gov. Bev Perdue has emerged as a mighty opponent | News Feature | Indy Week
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In battling Republican lawmakers over the budget, Gov. Bev Perdue has emerged as a mighty opponent 

She can dish it out—and she can take it

Page 3 of 3


The budget battle in numbers

As we went to press Tuesday, Republican leaders unveiled a new compromise budget plan. Total spending: Almost $19.7 billion, about $200 million less than Perdue's budget request. Total education spending: $11 billion, $300 million less than Perdue—but $400 million more (including $100 million more for UNC) than the GOP's opening bid.

The Republicans didn't go along with the "penny" sales tax hike or any part of it. They found extra money by cutting contributions to the state pension funds, trimming their proposed tax cuts for business and dipping into reserve accounts.

Gov. Perdue slammed the GOP's offer, saying it "shuffled around" money to paper over the much bigger differences between her plan and theirs than the $200 million figure would indicate.

Last Friday, Perdue's office issued a list of 10 things wrong with the old GOP plan. Four were about inadequate school funding, but the other six weren't. The biggest non-education complaint: a $700 million cut to state Medicaid funds, which with the loss of 2-for-1 federal matching, will cost the state economy $2 billion-plus, according to Perdue.

  Total Budget Education's Share
Gov. Perdue $19.9 $11.3
House GOP $19.3 $10.6
Senate GOP $19.7 $11.0
Continuation at 2009–10 levels $20.8 $11.9
  All numbers are in billions of dollars

Sources: Office of State Budget and Management, N.C. General Assembly


Perdue versus the GOP

THEIR SIDE

House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg: A former management consultant and IBM exec, Tillis is smooth and very conservative, as is his House GOP caucus. He's reined in their kookiest ideas, but the voter-suppression bills start here.


Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, R-Rockingham: A blue-collar guy turned lawyer with blue-blood friends, Berger led the Senate to pass a right-wing charter-schools bill in record time. It's on hold after a different version passed the House but is expected to resurface soon.


House Majority Leader Paul Stam, R-Wake: Stam's the man when it comes to anti-abortion and anti-gay rights bills. He's also for taxpayer-funded vouchers ("tax credits") for private and parochial schools and thinks all public schools should be charter schools.


Art Pope, CEO of the Pope Empire: Retail-store magnate Pope controls a foundation with $148 million in assets at last report. It pays for the network of conservative organizations (John Locke Foundation, Civitas Institute, Real Jobs NC) writing the GOP agenda.


HER SIDE

Jim Goodmon: He's a good capitalist to have on your side. CEO of Capitol Broadcasting Company, which owns WRAL, he also chairs a family-funded foundation that backs such progressive groups as N.C. Policy Watch. Company motto: "We can't meet our business responsibilities if we don't meet our community responsibilities too."


Cynthia Marshall, president AT&T North Carolina: Corporate executive and mother of three—in middle school, high school and N.C. School of the Arts—she's the prototype for Perdue's pro-business, pro-education model. Competition demands more and better education, she says.


The Rev. William Barber, state NAACP president: He has stood with the governor and she with him. Her support for the Racial Justice Act was key, as was her outspoken criticism of segregated school systems in Wayne, New Hanover and (potentially) Wake counties.


Sheri Strickland, president N.C. Association of Educators: Teachers and teaching assistants are mostly women and Perdue's natural base. They were unhappy with Perdue over the 10-hour furloughs and half-percent pay cut two years ago. Now, with Republicans threatening worse, their support has returned.


Tillis photo by Bob Geary; Berger, Stam and Barber photos by D.L. Anderson; Pope illustration by V.C. Rogers; Goodmon photo courtesy Capitol Broadcasting; Marshall photo courtesy AT&T; Strickland photo courtesy NCAE

Correction (June 6, 2011): Jim Goodmon, CEO of Capitol (not Capital) Broadcasting, is a former Republican; he has changed his voter registration to unaffiliated.

  • Can Perdue reassert the values that roused North Carolina to become the progressive leader of the South?

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