Gov. Beverly Perdue visited a Charlotte manufacturing company Thursday afternoon to announce a controversial new budget proposal and tax increase she said is needed to get the state economy back on track.
“It's always, always about the quality of the education system,” Perdue said.
The cornerstone of her plan is a move to increase spending on education, which was cut 6 percent this year by the Republican legislature.
Perdue would spend an additional $562 million on public schools, and another $198 million on community colleges and universities.
She would get that money by raising the state's sales tax by 3/4th of a cent.
“The voters of this state want education funded,” Perdue said.
The governor's plan would raise the sales tax in Mecklenburg County -- already the highest in the state -- to 8 percent.
But already Thursday, state Republican leaders, who control the legislature, were signaling they have no plans to support Perdue's plan.
“The last thing we need to do is raise taxes on families and businesses in North Carolina, so I don't see that proposal meeting with a very favorable reception in the legislature,” said state Sen. Phil Berger.
Pat McCrory, the Republican nominee for governor, said Perdue's plan was problematic.
“She's not fixing education. She's not changing education,” McCrory said. “She's just pouring more money into a broken system.”
The Perdue proposal did get some support from Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton. He said he had not seen the specifics of it, but that “anything that restores devastating cuts to education is a step in the right direction.”