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Chris Fitzsimon: Unusual times in Raleigh

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The public news about the budget this week was bad, but not unexpected. Economists in the Fiscal Research Division of the General Assembly released a report projecting next year's budget shortfall at $3.7 billion.

Included in that number are not only the expiration of the temporary tax hikes passed in 2009 and the end of federal stimulus money, but also increased education enrollment and increased health care costs.

The shortfall comes to 16.8 percent of next year's budget. Gov. Beverly Perdue is now considering cuts of 10 percent in education and 15 percent from the rest of state government. Those cuts would eliminate more than 20,000 jobs in public schools alone and cripple human services programs that help the most vulnerable people in the state.

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Bless your heart
Bless your heart