Local Politics

Senate propses spending less on Medicaid, more on education

Posted June 16, 2008 5:40 p.m. EDT
Updated June 16, 2008 11:26 p.m. EDT

— Leaders in the North Carolina Senate are releasing their budget proposal, which proposes spending less money than the House on reimbursing doctors and others for treating Medicaid patients.

Senate Democrats began rolling out portions of their spending plan in subcommittee meetings Monday afternoon.

The Senate's proposed health budget reduces the money available for Medicaid reimbursements by $42 million. That's a deeper cut than the House offered in its budget two weeks ago.

The plan also increases funding for education programs pushed for by Gov. Mike Easley.

The Senate is looking at spending $40 million for pre-kindergarten programs, nearly doubling the House proposal.

The plan would direct $34 million to cover college enrollment increases. That is $20 million more than the House offered.

The Senate also set forth $17 million for college campus safety improvements.

As for pay increases, the Senate offered a 3 percent hike for teachers and 2.75 percent for other state workers. That is the same as what the House put forward.

Unlike the House; however, the Senate budget does not include $50 million for land acquisitions.

The Senate also proposed nearly $50 million less for the reserve this year.

The Senate has scheduled a full meeting of the Appropriations Committee on Tuesday morning. The two chambers want to get a final budget to Easley before the fiscal year starts July 1.