Perdue goes for the red ink, vetoes two bills

Earlier this week, Governor Bev Perdue’s office released a You Tube video hinting that she would be using her veto stamp more frequently in days ahead.

Wednesday evening, just hours after criticizing Republicans for playing politics with an extension of unemployment benefits, Perdue made good on her pledge and vetoed two bills.

Perdue rejected Senate Bill 265, which would have placed the State Health Plan under the Treasurer’s supervision and charged state workers and teachers a monthly premium for the first time ever.

Perdue said retired workers and teachers’ groups had no opportunity to be involved in the legislative discussions, and the bill was “in effect a tax on teachers.”

The governor said she strongly believed House Bill 7 would “harm students…and turn North Carolina in the wrong direction.”

And her decision to veto that bill, which would have allowed community colleges to opt out of the federal student loan program, is earning the governor widespread praise.

(Students with federal loans pay 4.5 to 6.8% interest, while students who put their tuition, books, and fees on their credit cards pay 16-18% interest.)

Here’s what others had to say about her veto of HB7:

From the NC Budget & Tax Center:

“Unfortunately, North Carolina’s community colleges have become more expensive just as workers need them most,” said Alexandra Forter Sirota, director of the NC Budget & Tax Center. “Federal loans are a crucial support for students, and Gov. Perdue’s decision will help those students improve North Carolina’s future.”

From the NC Center for Public Policy Research:

“The Governor’s action today will help more than 177,000 community college students,” said Ran Coble, executive director of the Center. “As a result, more students will have access to the safest and most affordable means to borrow money to pay for college so they can get the education they need to get a job.”

“The Governor’s veto furthers the state’s policy goals of improving access to a college education, increasing college completion rates, minimizing student debt, and providing the training that people need to get a job,” said Coble. “Her action today will reverse the worsening trend in North Carolina toward less access to affordable borrowing for community college students.”

From The Institute for College Access & Success:

“North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue took a historic step towards ensuring access to aid for the state’s community college students by vetoing House Bill 7. This issue is of critical importance in the state right now. With more students than ever seeking education and training at community colleges, North Carolina now ranks absolute last in the share of students with loan access in 2010-11 (as detailed in our new analysis to be released this month). While we don’t usually share such a major finding in advance, we wanted to call attention to the significance of Governor Perdue’s decision today,” said Shannon Gallegos, Communications Associate with the Institute for College Access & Success.

To view the Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 265, click here.

Click here for the veto of House Bill 7.

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