RALEIGH — Gov. Bev Perdue on Tuesday again urged legislators to rework the state budget they passed last week but would not say whether she intends to veto the $20.2 billion state spending plan.
They need to keep working, Perdue said during a brief news conference. They need to reach down deep and do more for the children of this state.
Perdue, a Democrat, said she met with Republican legislative leaders Thursday to talk about the budget, where she offered proposed changes that they later rejected.
Perdue described her proposal as modest. Her office would not release it or provide details.
According to the copy provided by lawmakers staff titled Budget Talking Points, Perdue proposed taking $100 million from the rainy day reserve fund and the repair and renovations fund and distributing it this way:
• $76 million for schools. Under the legislatures budget, school districts will have about $190 million less to spend next year.
• $10 million for N.C. Pre-K
• $5 million for Pre-K and kindergarten tests
• $5 million for eugenics compensation
• $3.4 million for probation officers
• $600,000 to keep the state in compliance with the Help America Vote Act guidelines. The state money would release $4 million in federal money for the elections system.
Perdue released a letter dated Tuesday from House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate leader Phil Berger which said, There is not a consensus in support of your changes in the legislature. We hope you will give the budget before you careful consideration.
Tillis and Berger released a joint statement after Perdues news conference urging her to sign the budget. The legislators plan a Wednesday news conference to talk about the budget.
This is another episode in a long-running dispute between Perdue and the Republican-controlled legislature over state spending. Republican lawmakers so far have gotten their way.
Legislators overrode Perdues veto of the current budget last summer, and Republicans have turned aside her proposals this year to spend more on schools using revenue from a proposed three-quarter-cent sales tax increase or a tax on video sweepstakes.
The budget is about 2.5 percent more than the legislature planned to spend next year. The new budget year begins July 1.
Perdue has until midnight Sunday to sign or veto the budget, or it becomes law without her signature. She would not say whether she would veto the budget if the legislature doesnt make changes.
Today is not about a veto, she said. I am still very hopeful they have time to get the work of the people done.
Although Democratic lawmakers criticized the budget for not doing enough for education, it includes popular items the first raises that state employees and teachers have seen in four years, and a gas tax cap.
Legislative leaders have said they will move to override a budget veto. The Senate has enough Republican votes to override. Margins are closer in the House but enough Democrats have joined Republicans so far to make the budget veto proof.
Staff writer John Frank contributed.