Raleigh, N.C. — As Gov. Pat McCrory was signing a continuing resolution Thursday to keep state spending going through the end of the month, House Speaker Tim Moore gave credence to the belief that lawmakers might actually have a budget in place by then.
The 2015-16 fiscal year began July 1, but negotiations between the House and the Senate have been bogged down for weeks over how much to spend, where to spend and various policy issues. Moore said negotiators could have an agreement on how much to spend by the end of Thursday, allowing budget subcommittees to begin hammering out how to divvy up the money, which they will do for much of next week.
One of the issues separating the House and the Senate has been whether to fund teaching assistants or have school districts hire more teachers to reduce class sizes. Moore said discussions have been held about giving districts a type of "block grant" to spend as needed on TAs or teachers.
Lawmakers still have other unfinished business, such as Medicaid reform and a proposal to shift how sales tax revenue is distributed, so Moore said the session would likely continue into September even if the budget is passed by Aug. 31.