State News

State budget talks go down to wire

Posted June 30, 2008

— The state's new fiscal year starts Tuesday, but it was unclear Monday night whether lawmakers would agree on a budget before the deadline.

Teams of Democratic lawmakers working on the budget through the weekend went back to work Monday. Rep. Mickey Michaux, D-Durham, the chief negotiator for the House, said he hoped most of the chamber's differences with the Senate could be ironed out by Monday night.

"I feel the pressure. You know, we said we're going to get this budget done, and we're working with the House closely trying to resolve some of these issues," said Sen. Linda Garrou, D-Forsyth.

The differences include how much to spend on college enrollment increases and how to pay for state building projects.

"It's a slow process anyway. It's give and take, and there's some concerns about other things there. But we're a lot closer than we were (Sunday) night," said Rep. Alma Adams, D-Guilford.

A 3 percent raise for public school teachers and a 2.75 percent raise or $1,100 for most other state workers appear to be supported by most lawmakers.

Agreeing on the revenue side of the budget hasn't been so easy. Gov. Mike Easley complained over the weekend that lawmakers weren't taking projections of $70 million less in tax collections seriously enough.

"Our staff has not given us the numbers in that regard," Garrou said.

Some budget writers said Easley ignores reality to think they can squeeze more money out for teacher bonuses at the same time as cutting back.

"If we already know we have less money, then why add something in there that gives people false hope?" Garrou said.

Lawmakers in both the House and Senate must vote to approve the budget on consecutive days. It will then be presented to Easley for his signature.

Because this is the second year of the state's two-year budget cycle, the July 1 deadline isn't as pressing as the first year. The existing budget will remain in place until lawmakers pass a new spending plan.


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  • john60 Jul 1, 2008

    State gas tax revenue doesn't go into the General Fund; it goes into the highway trust fund and is (supposed to be) used to build/maintain state roads and highways. Gas tax money isn't ever considered when they talk about the General Fund, although they've been taking some of it for years to supplement the GF.

  • beachboater Jul 1, 2008

    They are too busy regulating smoking in government vehicles to worry about such trivial matters as the budget.

  • twixandbetwwen Jul 1, 2008

    More experienced teachers should get less because a lot of them are just hanging around for retirement;whereas, the younger teachers are just beginning their careers. Most of the old ones are going to return to the class room under the retiree rehire program.

  • tank1234 Jul 1, 2008

    I am a wake county employee. I think we need a cost of living
    raise. We went like 3 or 4 years without a rasie. They gave
    us bonus days. Well they don't want you to take them unless
    you have used all your other time. It is my days why can't I take them when I want to. Also if you look at the salary chart. I have been here 22 years on the schedule i am only getting paid at 20 years. what is up with that.

  • Stormy13 Jul 1, 2008

    Lady Justice: I am a State employee and I so agree with you, thank you for caring. Also, I am still waiting to hear how much of a raise the Legislature members gave themselves, bet it's way more than 2.75%!!

  • lili64 Jul 1, 2008

    This budget raise for state employees is catering to the folks on the high salary in of the totem pole and penalizing the ones that make less. Who do you think is going to get more in a raise the worker who makes $60,000 or the one who makes $35,000? Just give everybody $1,110 and be done.

  • enoughsenough Jul 1, 2008

    Iseeu: I agree, but the 1,100 works better for me.

  • davidgnews Jun 30, 2008

    Down to the wire? The wire should be an electric fence.

    A budget session in our legislature is a creative exercise in waste management.

  • daMoFo Jun 30, 2008

    The percent raises teachers get are an average. Every teacher will not get 3%. In past years, the more experienced teachers would have gotten less than 3% while newer teachers would get more than 3%.

  • colliedave Jun 30, 2008

    "ust cut everything that isn't essential to the running of government and that couldn't be performed better by the private sector."

    I'll vote for you...are you running?

    I would but I am mean, nasty, and ugly. My dogs are better look than I.