RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on the North Carolina Senate debating the chamber’s proposed budget adjustments for the coming fiscal year (all times local):
The North Carolina Senate has given its initial approval to proposed budget adjustments for the next fiscal year in a party-line vote favoring Republicans writing the legislation.
The 33-15 vote Thursday backed changes that would increase average raises for teachers and increase standard deductions on personal income tax. It also gives more money for taxpayer-funded scholarships for children to attended K-12 private schools.
The budget legislation was amended to remove provisions directing ultra-low tuition rates for three historically black colleges starting in a couple of years. The deletion came after opposition by black college alumni and students worried it would actually harm the institutions.
Democrats who voted against the budget said it didn’t do enough for state employees and criticized its delays of anti-pollution rules for some Piedmont watersheds.
One more vote is needed early Friday before it’s sent to the House. Then negotiations between the two chambers will begin.
The North Carolina Senate has started its debate on proposed budget adjustments for the next fiscal year that would include large average raises for teachers and park close to $600 million more in the state’s reserve fund.
The chamber planned to vote on the $22.2 billion spending plan Thursday then return after midnight for a second vote to comply with procedures.
The bill would increase teacher salaries by 6.5 percent on average, although the most veteran teachers wouldn’t get a raise. For state employee raises, agencies would distribute $180 million to rank-and-file workers as they see fit.
Senate Republicans also would cut income taxes by raising the standard deduction this year and next and tweak new sales tax changes — generating some additional revenues.
The budget approval would set the stage for negotiations with the House, which approved its plan two weeks ago.
The budget adjustments proposed by the North Carolina Senate for next year are heading to the floor after encountering little or no resistance in committees this week.
Debate and the first of two required votes on the $22.2 billion plan were scheduled Thursday in the chamber. The second vote was slated for early Friday, just after midnight. The expected Senate budget approval will set the stage for negotiations with the House, which approved a competing plan two weeks ago. They want a final budget in Gov. Pat McCrory’s hands by the end of the month.
The plan crafted by Senate Republicans would raise teacher pay on average more than the House proposal and sets aside more money in reserves as protection against the next economic downturn.