General Assembly Passes $19B Budget

The North Carolina General Assembly has approved a $19 billion state budget for the spending year that started a month ago.

The Senate and House voted Wednesday to give the budget final legislative approval.

Gov. Beverly Perdue said she would reluctantly sign into law the package that includes higher taxes and reduced services.

The budget leaves up to local school districts -- now just weeks away from a new school year -- to decide how to handle their share of $225 million in cuts.

Republicans complain that Democrats who run the Legislature chose to raise taxes during this recession when they could have made deeper cuts. But Republicans can't change the budget, which is a compromise of earlier versions.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue said she's no happier than legislators about a state budget that raises taxes and cuts spending, but she's going to sign the spending plan into law.

Perdue said Tuesday that lawmakers have raised taxes as far as
they're willing to go to maintain education spending. She said
she's willing to sign the $19 billion budget with the traditional
school year starting soon.

The governor said she was pleased that lawmakers pulled back
from spending cuts that would have led to broader teacher layoffs.

Perdue said a a one-penny sales tax increase was better than
higher income taxes for working families. She said only about 13
percent of households will face a new, added surtax on their
taxable income.

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