Lawmakers poised once again to extend budget deadline

Posted August 11, 2015

House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, talks with Budget Chairman Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015.

— North Carolina lawmakers would get a second extension on their budget deadline until Aug. 31 under a continuing resolution the House Appropriations Committee passed Tuesday afternoon.

Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, the House budget chairman, said he anticipated that senators would concur with the measure.

However, Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, said "We haven't decided yet" when asked if senators would go along with the more than two week extension.

"We'd prefer something shorter," he said.

North Carolina's fiscal year began on July 1, but lawmakers have been at odds over how much money to spend, whether and how to cut taxes and other issues that have left budget negotiations at an impasse.

The first continuing resolution of the year extended the state's budget deadline until this coming Friday. But in the six weeks since that has passed, there's been little outward progress on what is expected to be a roughly $21 billion spending plan. Senators have agreed to remove two large policy issues from the negotiations – Medicaid reform and an economic development package – but dozens of policy and spending differences remain.

The full House is expected to vote on the temporary spending measure Wednesday.

Senate Bill 650 plows little new ground. Among the few new provisions, the bill allows the state to pay prior commitments to the Job Development Investment Grant and One North Carolina Fund economic development programs but provides no expansion of those job recruiting programs.

Rep. Larry Hall, D-Durham, asked whether the continuing resolution would replace $25 million in spending on teaching assistants that expired on June 30.

Dollar said that it did not but pointed out there was $351 million in money for teaching assistants that had already been distributed to school districts throughout the state. House and Senate lawmakers disagree over whether to make up the remainder of the teaching assistant funding. House members support adding it back, while senators would rather shift the money toward full teachers.

"We are certainly fighting for that with the Senate," Dollar said.


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