On Jan. 26, 2011, members of North Carolina’s General Assembly took their oath of office. I was humbled and honored to stand with those who swore the oath. The speed with which we began our official duties was unprecedented. We did not have the luxury of time to waste. We were faced with a deficit of $2.5 billion, $7 billion in debt, and $32.8 billion of unfunded liability for retiree health care. In addition, in the last two years, North Carolina has borrowed $2.3 billion from the federal government to pay for unemployment benefits.
The interest we pay on that loan is $100 million each year. North Carolina accepted $1.3 billion of federal stimulus money that was used to delay cuts in the education budget.