1/18/12 Perdue wants higher sales tax for education

Perdue wants higher sales tax for education
The Associated Press, The Times-News 1/18/12     
Reprinted with permission.

  RALEIGH — Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue drew in with permanent marker Tuesday an outline of part of her 2012 re-election campaign strategy, announcing her budget proposal would seek to raise taxes to restore public education cuts she’s blamed on Republicans at the Legislature.

   Perdue said her spending proposal for the year starting July 1 will call for a temporary sales tax increase of threequarters of a penny, whose revenues would be dedicated to public education. That would raise the sales tax consumers in most counties pay from 6.75 percent to 7.5 percent.

   “Education is the key to our children’s future and to North Carolina’s economic future,” Perdue said in a statement. “Investing in education is central to our ability to attract new jobs and businesses to our state. We owe it to our children and our state to stop these cuts and make education a priority again — a fraction of a penny for progress.”

   Republicans immediately panned the idea, calling it another tax increase from Perdue.

   The GOP majority at the General Assembly had pledged to let expire a penny sales tax that Democrats had placed on the books in 2009 at the height of the recession. Perdue had offered last year to set the sales tax at 7.5 percent, instead allowing the full penny to expire on time at a cost of more than $1 billion in lost revenue.

   The higher taxes would keep money out of the pockets of consumers and businesses, GOP leaders said at the time.    Perdue’s“attempt to nip this economic recovery in the bud is dead on arrival at the General Assembly,” Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, said in response. “Gov. Perdue’s latest tax-hike stunt proves she can’t fix this mess she made.”    The announcement by Perdue was made during a visit to Greensboro’s Archer Elementary School, four months before the Legislature returns to town for its budget-adjusting session.