Lawmakers welcome McCrory's budget

Posted May 15, 2014

Budget Director Art Pope gives lawmakers a briefing on Gov. McCrory's proposed budget on Thursday, May 15.

— Lawmakers gave Gov. Pat McCrory's 2014-15 budget proposal a polite reception Thursday, calling it "a good start" for their own budget process.

Budget Director Art Pope gave members of the General Assembly an overview of McCrory's $21 billion spending proposal, which mainly represents an adjustment of the two-year budget passed in 2013. 

After going over this year's spending plan, Pope gave a preview of one item McCrory would likely recommend in the 2015-16 budget. He noted that this year's budget puts only $50 million into repairs and renovation, when the state has hundreds of millions of dollars worth of needs.

"I think next year will be the time the governor will have a 25-year capital plan," Pope said. 

Members of the House and Senate appropriations committees listened to Pope for more than two hours. At the end of the presentation, a few Democrats asked questions, but Republicans were largely silent.

"We know we are in the budget process," said Rep. Tom Murry, R-Wake.

While he called McCrory's proposal "a great start," Murry said that lawmakers would be coming up with their own plan.

McCrory is projecting that the state's Medicaid health insurance program for the poor and disabled will cost more than anticipated, but Pope insisted the state would be able to cover the overspending with current-year cost savings and reserves. 

Sen. Harry Brown, R-Onslow, said lawmakers were somewhat skeptical of those numbers. McCrory included a $50 million reserve in his budget in case his Medicaid estimates are off. Brown said Senators would likely take a different approach. 

"I'm not sure we agree with a reserve," Brown said. "I think we'd rather get it right on the front end." 

Senators will have first crack at the legislative budget this year. Brown said that the Senate would likely begin rolling out its version in the next two or three weeks. Then the House will take its turn writing a budget. Those two documents will then be merged into a final deal that returns to McCrory for his signature.

Virtually all lawmakers agree that McCrory's focus on providing raises for teachers and state employees was an idea that would carry through to the end. 

"We have money for educators because the economy is growing," Murry said.


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  • tntcreateart May 15, 2014

    Raises for teachers and state employees is at least one thing the GOP is getting right.

  • Danny22 May 15, 2014

    Meet me...
    Those rich folks you are referring to are mostly businesses and they are struggling with all the obamacare costs which have ensued. That's the Obama doctrine: Demonize the workers and business owners--Call them mean old rich people. The truth is they and we pay most of what is paid. All of the freeloaders like to bite the hand that feeds. And we need a break from taxes=those of us WHO WORK.

  • Tyson Miller May 15, 2014
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    Unless you are one of the top 20 richest families in NC and good friends with Art Pope then that won't be happening.

    This GOP is only for the mega rich yet they get poor folks & the former middle class to vote against their own interests in the name of religion.

  • Danny22 May 15, 2014

    I sure hope there is some tax relief in that budget. It is not right for us to pay as much tax as we pay.