Berger meets the pressPosted: January 24, 2011
Under the Dome kicks off the coverage of Republican senate leader Phil Berger’s press conference today:
Early bills will deal with Gov. Bev Perdue’s ability to direct state agencies to save money. Berger said it would help if Perdue is able to save more in the existing budget so legislative budget writers will have a cushion to work with as they figure things out for next year.
A charter school bill that eliminates the 100-school cap will be debated in the first weeks. The bill may include recommendations to have agency other than the State Board of Education oversee charters, he said.
“There’s the perception that DPI (the state Department of Public Instruction) has not been particularly receptive to the idea of charters,” Berger said.
That’s good news for those who have fought to have the cap eliminated.
Laura Leslie, who has moved over from WUNC radio to head a new online effort at WRAL, has much more:
The current budget shortfall is estimated at $3.7 billion dollars. Berger insisted that the gap can be closed with cuts. But he conceded it will be a painful process.
“For anyone to suggest that any part of the state budget is going to be immune from consideration for reductions – for anyone to say that nobody’s going to be laid off, there are not gonna be any reductions, I think is unrealistic,” he said.
A big chunk of that shortfall will come from the June expiration of the temporary 1 percent sales tax, passed by Democrats in 2009. A PPP poll released Monday shows 71percent of voters would support extending the tax if it would help ease cuts to services.