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Perdue: Dissolving Golden Leaf Fund Will 'Cut NC Off At The Knees'

Governor Bev Perdue says an attempt by Republican lawmakers to dissolve a nonprofit that divvies up tobacco settlement money will hamper her efforts to bring jobs to the state. Speaking with business leaders at UNC Charlotte Monday, Perdue compared a proposal by Republican State Representative Paul Stam to a "Christmas Tree." "They want to do this and this and this with the money from the Golden Leaf," says Perdue. "The business community needs to stand up on this one. It really needs to stand up or North Carolina will be cut off at the knees." Perdue said tobacco settlement money distributed by the Golden Leaf Fund often provides the final incentive necessary to attract new companies to North Carolina. Representative Stam is floating a bill to dissolve the nonprofit Golden Leaf Foundation and use the remaining $600 million in the fund for state employee retirements, community colleges and compensation for victims of forced sterilization. Some of the money would also go toward economic incentives, though not enough to suit Perdue. She's already vetoed one bill that would have diverted $67 million from the Golden Leaf Fund. Critics say the fund has squandered money and been controlled by Democratic interests since it was created in 1999.