State agencies deal with budget limbo

Reported by Claire Simms - bio|email
Posted by Peter Smelser - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Facing a July 1 deadline to finalize the state budget, North Carolina lawmakers passed a continuing resolution that gives them a two week extension.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Beverly Perdue signed into law the temporary spending plan to run North Carolina government while a final budget gets worked out.

State agencies will continue operating with only 85 percent of the money the state gave them during the 2008-2009 budget year.

"Budgetary cutbacks are still going to continue and it gives us some time, some breathing room to go ahead and finalize the budget," said State Rep. Danny McComas (R-District 19).

Places like UNC-Wilmington are hoping that two weeks in enough time for legislators to reach a budget compromise.

"What we're dealing with is much of the same," said Charles Maimone, Vice Chancellor of UNCW Business Affairs. "We were under serious constraints. We continue to be under serious constraints."

The University has cut back on travel, overtime and replacing aging equipment like computers.

"We need to know early what it is that we're dealing with so that we can actually do our own budget and planning for the entire year," said Maimone. "The fact is that July is really our preparatory time for the fall semester."

State legislators say the final budget won't come easy as democrats and republicans continue to fight over proposed tax hikes.

"When people are earning less and are having added expenses and trying to make ends meet and we have a substantial part of the population that is unemployed, we don't need to be adding more to their cost of living," said Rep. McComas.

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