NC House debates budget bill - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

NC lawmakers send $21B state budget to McCrory

Posted: Updated:
RALEIGH, N.C. -

North Carolina lawmakers neared the end of a year of dramatic changes in policies and priorities on Wednesday with their approval of a $20.6 billion, two-year budget.

The Senate passed the plan 32-17. The House voted 65-53. The General Assembly's annual session is scheduled to conclude this week, returning next spring to adjust the second year of the spending plan.

The Republicans have massive majorities in both chambers, but there was still intense debate about the budget on the floor Wednesday. Rep. Larry Hall, for example, said North Carolina was severely damaged by the budget.

But House Speaker Thom Tillis said, "We have done a good job with this budget. We need to move on."

Tillis said there was wasteful spending in the past at the expense of raises for teachers, and said, "We are cleaning up the mess."

Tillis, a GOP candidate for U.S. Senate, took the unusual step of debating the legislation after criticism that it shortchanges the poor and middle class.
    
"This is about a different means to the same end. What I do know is that prior means didn't work," said Tillis, R-Mecklenburg. "Does anybody really think that I came down to this Legislature so that we couldn't take care of people who were helpless and need the state's help? That's absurd."
    
GOP lawmakers said they acted responsibly by passing a budget only 2 percent greater than the $20.2 billion lawmakers allocated last year. The spending plan fully funds state pensions and the state health insurance plan, covers spiraling Medicaid costs, matches expected classroom demands from elementary schools to universities, and offers $10 million to compensate victims of the state's now-defunct forced-sterilization program, legislative leaders said. That's in addition to about $524 million in planned tax cuts over the next two years that GOP lawmakers predict will spur new business investment and job creation.
    
The spending blueprint for this year and next is driven primarily by Medicaid expenses and tax cuts, which together account for about $2 billion over the two years, said Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, a House budget co-chairman.
    
Democrats focused their criticism on the scheduled tax cuts, which they say will mostly benefit the wealthy and big corporations. The $260 million cut in overall public education spending this year will alienate more teachers already near the nation's bottom in pay, eliminate their job security, and lead to more congested classes, opponents said.
    
"This is the middle piece of the Republican agenda. The tax bill which we passed was step one. It cut a half-billion dollars out of revenue to provide gifts to the wealthiest people in the state and to out-of-state corporations. Then you're short a half-billion and we start on everybody else," said Sen. Martin Nesbitt, leader of the chamber's Democrats. "Take it out of the middle class. Take it out of services to the people. And then pass an elections bill so they can't get to the polls to get retribution."
    
Nesbitt was referring to another piece of disputed Republican-written legislation the Senate was debating Wednesday: a law that would place sweeping new restrictions on when, where and how citizens can vote. The measure would cut the state's early voting period by a week, eliminate same-day voter registration, require voters to present a government-issued photo ID at the polls, and increase the maximum individual campaign contribution for wealthy donors.
    
Spending cuts are affecting public schools and colleges and hurting education funding for rural communities, said Nesbitt, who also bemoaned earlier cuts to employment benefits and the state's rejection of federal funds to expand Medicaid coverage to the poor and disabled.
    
Senate GOP leaders said the Legislature's first priority was to stabilize state finances wracked by years of recession and what they described as mismanagement by Democrats who previously held the purse strings.
    
"We will definitely go along and take responsibility for this budget if you'll accept all of those that put us in the hole," said Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, who helped write the spending plan. "We've got a balanced budget that's going to meet the revenue that we expect to come in. That's the way we chose to do the budget. I think you'll end up liking it. The schools will not close, they will operate."

The budget was written by Republicans, who last year won large majorities in both chambers and a political ally in McCrory.

Republicans say they acted responsibly by fully funding state pensions, the state health insurance plan and Medicaid.
    
Democrats are focusing their criticism on a half-billion dollars in tax cuts over the next two years they say will mostly benefit the wealthy and big corporations. Opponents say cuts in public education spending will leave the state's schools stuck near the nation's bottom in spending per student and teacher pay.

  • PoliticsMore>>

  • NC flags lowered on day of Fulghum service

    NC flags lowered on day of Fulghum service

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 5:11 AM EDT2014-07-23 09:11:02 GMT
    A first-term North Carolina legislator who died last weekend will be formally remembered within state government and at the church he attended for decades.
    A first-term North Carolina legislator who died last weekend will be formally remembered within state government and at the church he attended for decades.
  • NC counties see sales tax changes in Senate bill

    NC counties see sales tax changes in Senate bill

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 10:46 PM EDT2014-07-23 02:46:55 GMT
    File PhotoFile Photo
    Four large North Carolina counties would see their authority to raise sales taxes scaled back in Senate legislation that its Republican supporters say would level the playing field across the state in generating revenue.
    Four large North Carolina counties would see their authority to raise sales taxes scaled back in Senate legislation that its Republican supporters say would level the playing field across the state in generating revenue.
  • State: Ex-Tarboro town manager used funds inappropriately

    State: Ex-Tarboro town manager used funds inappropriately

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 7:10 PM EDT2014-07-22 23:10:06 GMT

    The state auditor’s report determined that the former town manager “made nearly $366,000 of purchases" that were inappropriate.

    The state auditor’s report determined that the former town manager “made nearly $366,000 of purchases" that were inappropriate.

  • Floydfest attracts people from all walks of life

    Floydfest attracts people from all walks of life

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 11:26 PM EDT2014-07-24 03:26:58 GMT
    FloydFest 13 kicked off on Wednesday. Thousands of people from different walks of life will attend various events. Some come to the music festival to escape the monotony of everyday living."
    FloydFest 13 kicked off on Wednesday. Thousands of people from different walks of life will attend various events. Some come to the music festival to escape the monotony of everyday living."

  • Official: Air Algerie flight 'probably crashed'

    Official: Air Algerie flight 'probably crashed'

    Thursday, July 24 2014 11:21 AM EDT2014-07-24 15:21:47 GMT
    The official Algerian news agency says an Air Algerie flight from Burkina Faso to Algiers has disappeared from the radar.
    An Air Algerie flight carrying 116 people from Burkina Faso to Algeria's capital disappeared from radar early Thursday over northern Mali, officials said. France's foreign minister said no wreckage had been found,...
  • Israeli fire hits UN facility in Gaza, killing 15

    Israeli fire hits UN facility in Gaza, killing 15

    Thursday, July 24 2014 11:17 AM EDT2014-07-24 15:17:35 GMT
    Israeli tanks and warplanes are pummeling the Gaza Strip as U.S. and other diplomats push for a cease-fire with Hamas militants.
    Israeli tank shells hit a compound housing a U.N. school in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens who were seeking shelter from fierce clashes on the streets outside, Palestinian...
  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • 77-year-old questioned, defended as true Marine after NFL player takes his photo

    77-year-old questioned, defended as true Marine after NFL player takes his photo

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 1:58 PM EDT2014-07-22 17:58:35 GMT
    (WMC) - It was a story that made its rounds on social media. On a recent flight DeAngelo Williams, Mid-Southerner and running back for the Carolina Panthers, gave his first-class plane seat to a 77-year-old
    Family members are upset and hurt that their relative, James Wesley Bolden, is being called a liar and "a fake."
  • Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Thursday, July 10 2014 8:01 PM EDT2014-07-11 00:01:10 GMT
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
  • No swimming at some NC beaches due to high bacteria levels

    No swimming at some NC beaches due to high bacteria levels

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 12:36 PM EDT2014-07-23 16:36:19 GMT
    A map of the swimming areas along the NC coast that are affected by the recent high levels of bacteria.A map of the swimming areas along the NC coast that are affected by the recent high levels of bacteria.
    Six advisories and three alerts were issued against swimming Tuesday at nine ocean-side sites along the coast of North Carolina.
    Six advisories and three alerts were issued against swimming Tuesday at nine ocean-side sites along the coast of North Carolina.
Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.