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As State Lawmakers Debate Hunt's Budget Proposal, Other Bills Could Be Put On Hold

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RALEIGH — Thestate budget battleputs taxpayers in what amounts to a lose-lose situation. On top of program cuts and a possible bond, several other big ticket issues may not get resolved while lawmakers talk money.

Questions about the budget Governor Hunt submitted was the first order of business for theGeneral Assembly. Lawmakers had a number of questions Thursday about what is not included in the spending plan.

"I would just like to hear some comment about no funding for other state buildings for repair and renovations," says Sen. Kay Hagan, D-Guilford.

They also voiced displeasure about how some funds may get reshuffled to close a half-billion-dollar budget gap.

"We're setting ourselves up for a special session one of these days," says Rep. Lanier Cansler, R-Buncombe.

One of the tightest budgets in years may mean that other bills that could be acted on in the short session may not be.

"There are hundreds of those bills and I think most of the most substantive bills will be held to the next session," says Sen. John Kerr, D-Wayne.

Among the proposed legislation that may have to wait is managed care reform.

"The bill was put in yesterday, trying to give patients more rights in the HMOs," says Sen. Allen Wellons, D-Johnston. "We may not be able to get to it with all the other fighting over the budget."

Other bills that may have to wait including legislation on phone solicitors and legislation that would bring consumer protection for people trying to receiving funeral services.

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Len Besthoff, Reporter
Keith Baker, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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