NC House, Senate reach budget compromise
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RALEIGH -- The State House and Senate budget writers have reached a middle ground on a state spending plan for next year. The plan spends just over $20.1 billion and concentrates on education and Medicaid spending.
For head budget writers, they said the compromised spending plan put forward by the State House and Senate includes money for a lot of projects.
“There is a 1.2 percent raise for state employees and teachers. There is a one percent cost of living for our retirees. There are funds in the budget for both the community college and university system,” said Senate Pro-Tem Phil Berger.
Also included is money for an education reform bill which has been approved by the Senate that would push third grade literacy, transparency in schools, and begin a merit pay system for teachers.
As the details of the budget were being released, democrats said the education funding is inadequate.
“Additional teachers will be cut in school systems across North Carolina because of this budget and failing to provide enough money to hire them,” said House Minority Joe Hackney.
Budget writers said the other top priority was Medicaid funding, for which they said figuring out how much money was needed to patch the hole was especially difficult.
“The thing that continues to frustrate us is the surprises almost weekly that come out of HHS, almost weekly, with what our fiscal position is,” said House Speaker Thom Tillis.
Tillis said one area of the budget compromise he finds to be quote "a personal failure" is the lack of funding for eugenics compensation. The House had approved funding for victims of this former-forced sterilization program. The Senate declined.
“We lied...as a policy making body...we lied to these people who were victimized by the state that we would compensate them in this short session,” said Rep. Earline Parmon, D-Forsyth
Parmon said she is ashamed to be part of the legislative body that failed to offer this compensation.
The budget will now go to the House and Senate chambers where it is expected to be approved by the end of the week. The Senate is expected to vote on the budget Thursday.
Unless its rules are suspended, the House cannot vote on the budget until Friday.