Gov. Beverly Perdue said the budget plan to run North Carolina state government next year will protect teacher positions and help generate new jobs so the state can ride on the slow wave of an economic recovery.
Perdue surrounded herself with schoolchildren and legislative leaders late Wednesday outside the old Capitol building as she signed the nearly $19 billion budget for the new year starting Thursday. It's the first budget passed on schedule since 2003.
The House and Senate each gave final approval to the plan earlier in the day on largely party-line votes.
Perdue predicted the new budget would save or preserve 20,000 jobs over the next three years through a small-business tax credit and a new transportation fund targeting urgent projects.