Legislators face long, arduous summer

| July 12, 2015

nc-state-legislature-building-legislative-branch-150x150Editorial by Rocky Mount Telegram, July 11, 2015.

State lawmakers will return Monday to Raleigh from a weeklong holiday break to find a lot of unfinished business waiting for them.

The first order of business will be for N.C. House and Senate leaders to appoint members to a joint legislative committee tasked with forging a compromise version of their competing two-year budget plans. The leadership apparently was in too big of a hurry to take their holiday break to do this before they headed for home.

Before adjourning for their break, lawmakers were able to agree on a stop-gap spending measure that funds state government operations until Aug. 14, so House and Senate negotiators will have about 30 days to craft a budget agreement – which is not a lot of time, considering the vast differences between the two chambers’ spending plans.

The $22.2 million House plan spends $700 million more than the Senate budget, which sets aside $400 million more than what the House does for reserve funds.

But bridging the gulf in these vast funding differences will be the easy part, compared to finding compromises over the array of policy changes included in the Senate budget bill, many of which face staunch opposition in the House and from Gov. Pat McCrory.

The Senate budget includes provisions that reduce individual and corporate income tax rates, expand the sales tax to include more services and change the formula for sales tax distributions to counties. The Senate measure also contains a Medicaid reform plan that House Republicans and McCrory don’t seem to like one bit.

The General Assembly has been in session since January and has accomplished little so far. Lawmakers almost certainly will need more than 30 days to get the state’s pressing business done.

Category: NC SPIN Perspectives - Opinions from NC Leaders & Organizations

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