Raleigh, N.C. — So, is it a bad sign for House - Senate budget negotiations when the two chambers don't agree on how close they are to doing a deal?
House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, was confident enough to announce to his members this afternoon that a deal would be done in time to post the final, compromise state budget online tonight. He went so far as to outline a time line that included a vote on Thursday and a possible veto override and adjournment of the short session on Monday July 2.
After today's floor session, he told me “It’s looking like a consensus budget that’s really taking the best aspects of the House budget and some good ideas from the Senate budget." While he didn't go into a lot of detail, Tillis did say that compromises involved what line items were funded with recurring tax dollars and which ones were paid for from one-time savings.
"We're still working on details," chipped in Chris Hayes, Tillis' chief of staff. But Tillis left the conversation saying that he was on his way to put the finishing touches on those details and again expressed optimism that the budget would go online "tonight."
This came as news to Senate leaders.
"We don't have a budget, not yet," said Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, the Senate Rules Committee chairman. He said Tillis was jumping the gun. "I don't know why he said that."
Sen. Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, the president pro tempore of the Senate, was similarly cautious.
"We may have something today, but we don't have it yet," Berger said.