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North Carolina Non-profits Mix It Up on State Budget Issues



January 21, 2011

RALEIGH, N.C. - North Carolina's budget is starting this year in the red by $3.5 billion, prompting community groups across the state to hold their breath, awaiting news of potential cuts to their budgets or programs that serve people. This week, Together NC, a coalition of 120 organizations across the state, sent a letter to Gov. Beverly Perdue, asking her to take a "balanced" approach to the budget.

A Together NC coordinator, Rob Thompson, explains why billions of dollars in cuts could have a devastating effect.

"When you take that money out of the state budget, you're also taking it out of the economy, and you're going to get rippling effects because of taking that money out of the economy."

According to Together NC, a budget-cuts-only approach could close state parks, lay off thousands of teachers and harm community health and education organizations. Perdue's office has not yet responded to the letter.

Together NC is asking the governor to consider all options to fixing the budget, including spending money more effectively and raising taxes, Thompson explains.

"You've got to use all of the tools in your tool box. You don't just resort to the hammer for everything you're gonna do. You want to take a look at everything you've got in there, and revenue is certainly a part of that."

Neighboring South Carolina is also facing budget troubles, though that state's shortfall is considerably less, at $800 million.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC