Which version of Perl are you running? localtime returns a string when called in scalar context in the versions I use (<= 5.14). Perhaps you are using Time::Piece but have neglected to mention this?
Regardless, if you are going to do date/time arithmetic I would heartily recommend using any one of the available modules to do that for you rather than re-invent the wheel (otherwise you will have to start worrying about DST and leap years, etc.). Try one of Date::Manip, DateTime, Time::Piece, etc.
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