'Dialogue' but no progress on budget
Posted July 22, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — A meeting between Senate budget writers and Gov. Pat McCrory on Tuesday yielded "good dialogue" but no progress, Senate leaders say.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown told reporters that no House members were present at the morning meeting with McCrory.
Brown, R-Onslow, said senators and the governor discussed their differing positions on Medicaid cuts and funding for teacher pay raises and teaching assistants.
"I think we gave the governor an opportunity to explain his position on certain things. We did the same to him," said Brown. "So, I think it was good dialogue, at least to hear his side of the story, I guess. And I think it was good for him as well to hear why our opinions on certain things were the way they were."
Asked whether it would move the negotiations forward, Brown wasn't optimistic. But he said the Senate is committed to staying in session until a deal on a budget adjustment is reached.
"I'm sure the governor will have a conversation with the House after the meeting this morning. Hopefully, the House will come back with a new offer," he said.
Brown also confirmed that Senate leaders discussed their Medicaid reform plan with McCrory.
In Greensboro on Monday, McCrory spoke out yet again against the Senate's reform plan. He's been a vocal critic of the proposal, which would contract state Medicaid services to either commercial managed-care groups or provider-led accountable care organizations. It would also move Medicaid out of the Department of Health and Human Services into an new, independent agency.
DHHS leaders say the Senate bill would seriously destabilize the Medicaid program, which currently cares for 1.7 million North Carolinians.
Despite McCrory's opposition, Senate leaders will move ahead with a floor vote on their plan Tuesday afternoon.
"I think it was more to just kind of hash things out this morning," Brown said. "Nothing more than that."
Tuesday afternoon, House budget chair Justin Burr, R-Stanly, said House leaders have no plans to meet with the governor as the Senate did. He said the House has had more open communication with McCrory than the Senate has.
"That's where the logjam is," Burr smiled.