State News

House budget passes first test

Posted June 4, 2008


— By a wide margin, the North Carolina House has tentatively approved its version of the state budget.

House members voted 102-12 on Wednesday in favor of the $21 billion spending plan. It was one of the largest margins supporting the budget in years, as a majority of Republicans joined with the chamber's Democrats to back a plan that contains no new taxes and would increase overall spending by the smallest percentage in five years.

The second of two required votes to approve the budget is expected Thursday.

The budget calls for about $180 million less in spending that Gov. Mike Easley suggested in his budget proposal.

House Democratic leaders said their plan substantially raised salaries for both public school teachers and state employees even as legislators in surrounding states this year offered meager increases or none at all during trying fiscal times.

"We just did not have the funds with which to do (things), and we could not do it without raising taxes to a great extent," Rep. Mickey Michaux, D-Durham, who is the senior co-chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said as the debate began. "Our conservative budgeting has worked well."

Although Republicans have complained that Democrats have drawn up budgets the past two years that grew by more than 9 percent annually, some GOP House members were ready to vote for the plan, which grows by only 3.2 percent from the previous year - the lowest level since the 2003-04 budget.
"There are good things in the budget that can be supported by both sides," said House Minority Whip Bill McGee, R-Forsyth, adding that he would vote for the budget. "The overall (growth) rate this year is acceptable. It's less than the cost of living."

The person most unhappy with the spending plan may have been Easley, who said Tuesday that House Democrats were "stiffing the teachers" by failing to support his proposal to raise average teacher salaries by nearly 7 percent. 


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  • THE ETERNAL Jun 4, 2008

    Sounds pretty fair with what they have to work.

  • nodoginthisfight Jun 4, 2008

    At midnight they'll decide to rob the lottery fund and the highway fund in the name of keeping their promises.

  • JQ Public Jun 4, 2008

    Special Interest Strikes Again! Time for a Real Change! So, Who Are You Going to Vote For?

  • Zach1 Jun 4, 2008

    No toll roads!! What is so hard to understand?

  • bngexpress Jun 4, 2008

    why does high point furniture market need $600,000? and why do we need credit counciling when our govt approved these preditory lenders and why do we need to spend more on free day care to only be utilized by the undocumented workers , going to college free.WHY,WHY,WHY