The state House gave first approval to a $20.57 billion budget plan, with a final vote expected on Thursday
RALEIGH, NC (AP/WECT) - The North Carolina House has completed debate on its version of the state government budget for the next two years.
After more than three hours of debate Thursday, the chamber voted 77-40 in favor of the plan. Lawmakers also voted mostly along party lines Wednesday while giving the measure tentative approval.
The Senate passed its own budget three weeks ago is now expect to reject the House changes, leading to a conference committee aiming to work out differences and get a final plan to Gov. Pat McCrory by the end of the month.
House and Senate Republicans likely will have to work out many of their differences on their competing tax plans first to figure out how much money they'll have to spend.
The chamber voted 77-41 Wednesday night to the proposal written largely by Republicans. House members debated for seven hours and voted on more than 25 amendments.
"The budget that was approved by the North Carolina House today continues our efforts to put the state's fiscal house in order," said House Speaker Thom Tillis in an email release after the vote. "We have made significant improvements to the state budget since we inherited a multi-billion dollar deficit two years ago. Once again, the House has passed a balanced budget that reduces taxes, and that is a significant accomplishment."
The two chambers should begin negotiations in earnest next week with the aim of getting a compromise to Gov. Pat McCrory by the end of the month. The competing plans each spend $20.6 billion next year.
Senior House budget chairman Nelson Dollar of Cary says the House plan would move the state forward. Democrats countered that the bill would send the state backward.
House GOP leaders also wouldn't give pay raises this coming year for state employees and teachers, just like the Senate. McCrory wants 1 percent pay raises. The House would give five extra paid days of leave.
"The House budget proposal is realistic, reasonable, and responsible; placing North Carolina's fiscal house on a sound foundation for the future," Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-Wake), the Senior Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee said in an email news release from the Speaker's office "Our plan is a common-sense approach to providing the services our citizens need in the areas of education, health care, public safety, and job development."
According to the Speaker's office release, the House budget proposal also:
·prepares our state for future needs by adding $200 million to both the Savings Reserve and the Repairs & Renovations accounts, and $10 million to the Disaster Relief Reserve
·provides $28 million in capital investments
·fully funds the State Health Plan with a directive to find efficiencies moving forward
·funds the repair, renovation and expansion of National Guard Armory facilities in NC
·fully funds the State Retirement System
·reorganizes and streamlines departments, making government more efficient
·fully funds the Job Development & Investment Grant (JDIG)
·provides compensation for living victims of the state-sponsored Eugenics program
Click here to see the text of the House Budget Bill.
Click here to see the committee report explaining the Budget Bill.
Copyright 2013WECT. Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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