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Current year revenue still lags

North Carolina's revenue was $56 million behind projections at the end of March, according to state budget officials.

Budget staffers recapped Gov. Bev Perdue's budget proposal for the next fiscal year in a joint appropriations committee meeting this morning, Mark Johnson reports.

They said revenue would be $330 million or 2.6 percent short for the current fiscal year without the money brought in last year by a Revenue Department project to resolve tax disputes with corporations and businesses.

UPDATE: The committee's chairs, who are the legislature's chief budget writers, made clear Wednesday they want major changes in Perdue's spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Asked for his major concerns over Perdue's plan, which even she made clear is only a starting point, budget committee co-chair Jim Crawford, an Oxford Democrat, held up the whole 230-page book. Senior co-chair Mickey Michaux, a Durham Democrat, added: "The whole damn thing."

Michaux and Sen. Linda Garrou, a Democrat from Winston-Salem, expressed particular skepticism over Perdue's proposed $500 million in education cuts.

Whatever changes they make will be quick. Garrou pledged the Senate would vote on a budget on May 20, a week after this year's legislative session begins.

Center releases '07 effectiveness rankings

The 2007 effectiveness rankings for the legislature have arrived.

The rankings, conducted by the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research, is based on a survey of state senators and representatives, a dozen capital correspondents and 614 registered lobbyists after the biannual long session.

Senate President Marc Basnight was the most effective senator for a record eighth time in a row. The other most-effective senators were: Tony Rand, David Hoyle, Dan Clodfelter and Linda Garrou.

The five most effective members of the House were House Speaker Joe Hackney, Bill Owens, House Majority Leader Hugh Holliman, Rick Glazier and Jim Crawford.

Rep. Melanie Goodwin made the biggest jump in effectiveness in the House from 73rd in 2005 to 31st in 2007; while Sen. Bill Purcell joined the Senate's Top 10 most effective for the first time.

For the first time, the center asked respondents to consider ethics when ranking effectiveness.

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