Gov. Mike Easley says the legislature "cannot ignore reality."
In a statement issued Sunday, Easley said that he is concerned that House and Senate budget writers are not reacting to the reduction in expected state revenues.
"The State Constitution requires that a budget be balanced before I sign it," he said in a statement. "The General Assembly cannot ignore reality. The very latest numbers verify that we remain short of the estimates that legislative budget writers are currently using."
Easley proposes getting rid of $20 million in proposed tax cuts, but keeping pre-kindergarten spending and pay raises for teachers, essentially threatening a veto.
"I want to be clear — the budget must be balanced and have the right priorities for me to sign it. I hope we can build a budget we can all be proud of," he said.