Raleigh, N.C. — Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and his chief budget writer, Sen. Harry Brown, R-Onslow, outlined the "highlights" of their $22.2 billion budget proposal on Tuesday afternoon, although the fine print wasn't going to be available until hours later.
The Senate spending plan would include bigger raises for teachers and bigger tax cuts than the budget approved recently by the House, but it doesn't include that across-the-board raises for other state employees or a cost-of-living increase for retired state workers that the House included.
The measure also would include the tuition cuts at five University of North Carolina campuses that have been approved by two committees already as a standalone bill. Students at historically black universities protested the plan Tuesday, saying that it would starve the campuses – four of the five have traditionally served minority students – of needed funds and would stigmatize the schools as second-rate.
The Senate Finance Committee also looked to "clarify" the tax reform measures passed last year, saying they want to close loopholes on service providers who now collect sales tax.
Meanwhile, the House and the Senate gave final approval to the revamped coal ash cleanup plan, sending it to Gov. Pat McCrory, who has pledged to veto it.