Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beverly Perdue is airing a new ad touting her record in office.
What it says: The ad shows images of Perdue from her early life and her political career. A narrator says, "Bev Perdue. Neither of her parents finished high school, yet she became a teacher and earned a Ph.D. She's spent a lifetime fighting for the middle class — Smart Start for our kids, cutting the sales tax on food, saving our military bases from closure. In these tough times, she'll lead the way — a higher minimum wage, property tax relief for seniors, creating the jobs of the future. Bev Perdue, a governor for us."
The background: Perdue taught in public schools in Georgia and Florida from 1970 to 1974. She received a doctorate in education administration in March 1976 from the University of Florida.
Gov. Jim Hunt and the legislature created Smart Start, a statewide pre-school program, in 1993 when Perdue was in her second term in the state Senate. That year, Hunt appointed her as one of 16 initial members of a board to oversee Smart Start.
Then-Gov. Terry Sanford helped establish a statewide sales tax on food in 1961 to pay higher teacher salaries. It was supposed to be temporary, but it lasted almost four decades. Lawmakers cut it from 4 percent to 3 percent in 1996 and eliminated it two years later.
Perdue was co-chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee when lawmakers eliminated the tax. She voted in favor of doing so, but was not a champion of the cause. An unusual coalition of liberal lawmakers and anti-tax Republicans pushed for eliminating the tax, while the Senate’s leadership was less enthusiastic.
"I have long believed it is the wrong item to tax and there should be a total elimination," Perdue told The Charlotte Observer in August 1997. But, she added, "You have to look at fiscal responsibility. The priority, I believe, in addition to cutting the food tax, is to provide adequate funding for teachers and to clean up the environment."
Gov. Mike Easley appointed Perdue, as lieutenant governor, to lead the state's efforts to protect North Carolina’s military bases from closure by the U.S. Department of Defense. The multi-year process is designed to be insulated from political pressure, and it involved work from a large number of people, including the state's congressional delegation.
Perdue has called for increasing the minimum wage in North Carolina by one dollar to $8.25, from the minimum of $7.25 an hour set to take effect in July 2009.
She also says she favors expanding the state’s homestead exemption and freezing the property tax revaluations for seniors who make less than $50,000 and have lived in their homes for at least 20 years.
Is the ad accurate? Yes, though there is no way to quantify how much Perdue helped the state's military bases.
— David Ingram