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Veto Overridden, GOP State Budget Becomes Law

Jeremy Sprinkle
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Right-wing ideology trumps all to inflict "generational damage"

Just after midnight on Wednesday, June 15, 2011, while most North Carolinians slept, the Republican-controlled State House, with an assist from five renegade Democrats, voted to override Governor Perdue's veto of their state budget. Republicans allowed the opposition only three minutes of debate before voting. The next day, the override sailed through the State Senate, where Republicans have a veto-proof majority.

It is no exaggeration to say what a disaster the Republican budget will be for North Carolina. (Click here to read more.) Explaining her decision to veto the state budget, Gov. Perdue told reporters the Republican plan goes against everything North Carolina stands for "as a place of opportunity, a place that understands the value of investing in our people."

"Now, for the first time, we have a legislature that is turning its back on our schools, our children, our longstanding investments in education and our future economic prospects."This budget will result in generational damage. It tears at the very fibers that make North Carolina strong – not only our schools, but also our communities, our environment, our public safety system and our ability to care for those who need us most."

30,000 jobs will be lost to save less than a penny

According to analysis by the N.C. Budget and Tax Center, the immediate impact will be to cost the state over 32,000 jobs. By the 2012-2013 budget year, lost wages and industrial output will swell that number to almost 45,000 lost jobs. If the estimated 14,000 jobs created by included tax cuts materialize, that's a NET LOSS of 30,000 jobs - at a time when unemployment in North Carolina is already near 10%.

Many of those layoffs will come from education, where local school systems are being forced to absorb $124 million in discretionary cuts. Pink slips are already flying in local school districts, reports WRAL:

With the school year over and the state budget passed, many teachers across the region have learned in recent days that they no longer have a job.

The $19.7 billion budget, which the Republican-led legislature passed Wednesday over Gov. Beverly Perdue's veto, includes discretionary cuts for school districts statewide. School administrators say the size of the needed cuts entail layoffs, including thousands of teachers and teaching assistants.

Such devastating cuts - $580 million more than in the Governor's proposed budget - could have been avoided had Republicans simply kept in place 3/4 of one penny of a temporary sales tax increase adopted in 2009 to help North Carolina weather the economic downturn. Less than one penny was the difference between a tough budget and a disastrous budget.

In the end, Republicans cared more about their ridiculous no-tax pledge to anti-government, right-wingers than they cared about keeping a half-billion dollar investment in public education or preventing the loss of tens of thousands more jobs. And North Carolinians will be worse off for it.