Raleigh, N.C. — Budget held hostage: Day 72.
House and Senate negotiators said they have agreed on some major points but still have work to do to reach a final agreement on the state budget, meaning lawmakers will be bumping up against their Sept. 18 deadline even if they can finish the deal over the weekend. House rules require that the budget be available to the public for 72 hours before any vote can be held.
Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Larry Hall complained about the closed-door budget negotiations – an annual gripe by the party out of power – suggesting that only people who knew a secret handshake are privy to the details. Hall, D-Durham, was especially concerned about rumors that the budget would shift the state pension system from a traditional defined benefit plan into something similar to a 401(k) retirement fund, but Republican leadership said discussions about that ended a while ago.