Raleigh, N.C. — House lawmakers gave final approval Friday morning to the state budget and a package of corrections to it, but not without some partisan sniping along the way.
The vote on the budget, House Bill 1030, was far shorter than Thursday's initial debate. But it was still feisty, with Republicans highlighting areas of spending increases and Democrats arguing that other areas were shortchanged.
House Minority Leader Larry Hall dinged Republican leaders for the many pet projects that were funded in the final deal, arguing that education funding remains insufficient.
"We got stuck in the cash machine line for those who had special interest and special ability," Hall, D-Durham, said. "The rest of us that just wanted a plan we could participate in and believe in got shut out of the process."
"How much is enough? Well, there’s no such thing as enough because the goal line moves," Rep. Craig Horn, R-Union, shot back.
"Take all the cheap shots you want," Horn added. "We are off to a pretty darn good start."
Nonetheless, the budget again earned a strong bipartisan vote of 91-22, and is on its way to the governor.
The House also voted to accept the budget technical corrections bill, House Bill 805.
Most of the bill consists of fixes for typos and mistakes in the budget bill, but other items are commonly inserted in such bills at the end of session.
Section 8.1 of the bill transfers $500,000 from the state's Emergency Response and Disaster Relief Fund to the Governor's Office to cover litigation costs over House Bill 2.
"I checked with accounting, and we’ve spent $8.4 million in taxpayer money defending legislation that this body has passed," said Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford. "I’m not sure that’s the best use of taxpayer money."
"In this technical corrections bill," countered Rep. Mike Hager, R-Rutherford, "do we have a piece in there that takes that $8.4 million from the attorney general for him not doing his job?"
The proposal also passed with strong bipartisan support, 89-23, and is also headed for the governor's desk.