GOP: Budget rollout starts Thursday

Posted April 5, 2011 11:45 a.m. EDT

House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate Leader Phil Berger say Appropriations subcommittees will start rolling out “budget options” Thursday, and will be taking votes on proposed line-item cuts next week.

At this morning’s weekly joint Republican, Tillis said lawmakers are “wrapping up the data collection phase” they’ve been engaged in since the beginning of session, and are ready to start making decisions.

Tillis says this year’s budget proposal will be “less-baked” than in years past, when many decisions were hammered out in advance. “I think we’ll see some spirited debate.”

Berger said observers can “expect to see multiple agencies, multiple line items reduced.” He says it’s been years since the state budget has seen meaningful spending reductions. “No one should be surprised it will happen this year.”

Both leaders say April will be primarily focused on the budget, though Tillis says the House will take action on two controversial bills this week.

S8, the Charter School bill, is on the calendar in House Finance tomorrow, and could see a floor vote tomorrow and Thursday. The House is making some big changes, so it’ll have to go back to the Senate for concurrence once the House is done with it.

H351, the Voter ID bill, will be back in House Elections tomorrow for a vote. The latest version of the bill will require photo ID. Tillis said he doesn’t expect it’ll reach the floor this week.

He said bill sponsors tried to work with opponents who had concerns about the measure, but couldn’t reach a compromise. “We had to lock and load on a strategy,” Tillis said. “It will be what the voters want.”