Gov. Bev Perdue said Tuesday her budget proposal for next year will include a temporary sales tax increase to restore education cuts made by the Republican-led General Assembly when they let a similar tax expire last July.
The announcement by Perdue, made during a visit to a Greensboro elementary school, comes four months before the legislature returns to town for its budget-adjusting session. Her statement appears to set the stage for a re-election campaign that could pit Perdue against the new GOP majority on the issue of taxes and education.
Perdue said her budget for the year starting July 1 would call for restoring three-quarters of the penny sales tax that had been on the books for two years starting in 2009. That would raise the sales tax in most counties from 6.75 percent to 7.5 percent.
The GOP-led legislature rejected Perdue’s proposal 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 revenue reduction meant Republican budget-writers had to look for additional cuts in education and health care, where nearly 80 percent of the state’s $19.7 billion annual budget is allocated.