Reviews are coming in from across the state capital on Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue’s State of the State address delivered to the General Assembly Monday night.
Democratic political strategist Gary Pearce said that Perdue won Round 1 in the battle with the GOP legislature. “Strong speech. Smart strategy,” Pearce wrote in his Talking About Politics blog.
“Today, Republicans should be asking: Did we misunderestimate her,” Pearce wrote.
Louisa Warren, an organizer for Together NC, a progressive coalition of about 120 groups in the state, had a cautious, mixed response.
“Gov. Perdue hinted at her priorities for her state budget, including preserving education and spurring job creation,” Warren said. “These are essential priorities. However, Gov. Perdue also indicated that her budget would cut thousands of state jobs, privatize and consolidate public services and infrastructure, and cut corporate taxes.”
The Budget and Tax Center, which is closely allied with Together NC, was skeptical of Perdue’s call to decrease the corporate tax rate.
“Evidence-based analysis shows that reducing the corporate tax rate will create few jobs in North Carolina and cut state revenues by hundreds of millions,” said Alexandra Forter Sirota, director of the center.
Both Warren and Sirota lauded Perdue’s commitment to protect public education.
State Republican Chairman Robin Hayes was a bit critical of Perdue.
“With a $2.7 billion budget shortfall and an unemployment rate near 10 percent, the state of North Carolina does not need to reinvent or reset itself but it needs to spend less, tax less and regulate business less,” Hayes said. “Republicans in the legislature are working to restore these conservative principles and restore trust that our elected officials will be moral and ethical leaders who will get North Carolina back to work.”
Hayes said it’s up to Perdue to work with the new GOP majorities.
Senate Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt, D-Buncombe, said he agreed with Perdue’s commitment to protecting every teacher’s job in the state.
“Not only is a quality education the foundation for our children’s future, but it attracts new jobs and new investment to North Carolina,” Nesbitt said. “In the tough budget debate to come, Senate Democrats will stand up to prevent teacher layoffs and protect our children’s education.” He said economic growth depends on it.
Chris Fitzsimon, director of N.C. Policy Watch, said, “Perdue did do a little more than endorse the Republican corporate agenda. She vowed to protect every state=funded teacher and teacher assistant currently in public schools and to expand her College Promise initiative to give high school students a chance at two years of career training or a two-year college associate degree.”