North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue on Sunday vetoed the $19.7 billion budget sent to her by the Republican-controlled Legislature.
Perdue, a Democrat, is the first governor in the state to veto a budget.
In her veto message, Perdue said the state’s hallmark has been to provide a quality education, from early childhood and K-12 through community colleges and universities.
“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,” Perdue said.
The proposed budget cuts would hurt at-risk pre-school children, force K-12 schools to lay off thousands of teachers and assistants, and require higher-education facilities to slash programs and hike tuition, according to the governor.
She also said the budget cuts would harm “our communities, our environment, our public safety system and our ability to care for those who need us most.”
“The state’s budget is more than just a roadmap for how state agencies operate. It is a reflection of the state’s values, of what we believe in,” Perdue said in her veto message. “I will not put my name on a plan that so blatantly ignores the values of North Carolina’s people. I cannot support a budget that sends the message that North Carolina is moving backwards, when we have always been a state that led the nation.”
Perdue submitted a budget that called for extending a nearly 1% sales tax that expires June 30. The tax had been enacted temporarily to support the budget.
The Republican-backed budget sent to the governor was based on allowing the tax to expire. Supporters of the GOP spending plan were expected to attempt to override Perdue’s veto this week.