NC House discusses proposed $20.57 billion budget - WRBL

NC House proposing $20.57 billion budget

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

The North Carolina House of Representatives' appropriations committee is set to take on the proposed budget Tuesday.

The $20.57 billion spending plan was unveiled Sunday night. Speaker of the House Thom Tillis said the earliest a full House vote could happen would be Thursday morning.

The budget proposal is slightly less than those presented by Gov. Pat McCrory and the state Senate. Republicans in the House and Senate want to work out a spending compromise by the end of the month and send it to McCrory. The House and Senate will begin "conferencing" about it next week, Tillis said.

Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-Wake) called the proposal "realistic, reasonable and responsible."

"Our plan is a common-sense approach to providing the services our citizens need in the areas of education, health care, public safety and job development," said Nelson, the senior chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

The two-year spending bill, expected to be voted on by the full chamber later this week, would set aside $10 million to compensate people who lost their child-bearing abilities through the state-sponsored eugenics program from 1929 through the mid-1970s.

The provision, which was endorsed in GOP Gov. Pat McCrory's budget proposal in March, puts him and the House at odds with Republicans in the Senate, who didn't insert in the money in their spending proposal approved late last month. The item is one of several significant differences between the House and Senate budgets and McCrory heading into final negotiations. Lawmakers want to get a final budget to McCrory's desk by July 1.

House Republicans unveiled the entire plan two days after budget subcommittees debated and voted on most of the proposal.

The House GOP plan, which would spend $20.6 billion next year — or $12 million less than the Senate plan — also wouldn't give pay raises this coming year to state employees and teachers. The Senate didn't provide pay raises, either. McCrory wants 1 percent pay raises. The House would give five extra paid days of leave to workers and set aside $160 million for potential pay raises in the 2014-15 fiscal year.

North Carolina's eugenics laws resulted in more than 7,600 people receiving surgeries that left them unable to reproduce, though some chose to be sterilized as a form of birth control. A state panel recommended monetary compensation, and House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, led the House effort to provide the money last year. Senate Republicans wouldn't go along with the idea.

A group set up to help North Carolina victims previously estimated up to 1,800 were still living, though it had only verified a small fraction of that number.

Like the Senate, the House's 305-page budget bill didn't provide money to meet McCrory's requests to restore funding for local drug treatment courts. The House did provide $4.8 million more money for substance abuse treatment for offenders at higher risks for recidivism.

The House and Senate plans differ on public education spending, the state's pre-kindergarten program and the future of the State Bureau of Investigation.

The House did agree with the Senate and McCrory to repeal the state's voluntary public campaign financing program for appellate court judgeships. The decision comes even though nearly all current Court of Appeals asked in a letter to preserve the program.

Both chambers would set aside $1.2 billion over the next two years to pay for the increasing costs of Medicaid.

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Justin Quesinberry

Justin is a reporter for WNCN and a North Carolina native. He has spent the better part of the last decade covering the news in central North Carolina.  More>>

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