NC House Tentatively Approves Budget; Governor Says He'll Sign
In a vote of 68 to 46, the House has given its tentative approval of the new state budget. The $21 billion plan also gained the Senate’s approval earlier this morning. As in the Senate, the House debate over the measure got heated.
The debate started predictably as Republican lawmakers lined up to tout what they see as the achievements of the bill: raises for teachers, teaching assistants get to keep their jobs, and no eligibility cuts for Medicaid.
Democrats followed a predictable line as well; the raises weren’t really big raises for all teachers and the numbers in the bill just didn’t add up.
House Minority Leader Larry Hall said the budget is nothing more than an election-year ploy. "This is a 90-day budget, we all know it. Its not sustainable, we all know it."
Republican Bryan Holloway said that’s not true and questioned Hall’s real intention. "Let's be honest. If we want to raise taxes and that’s what you want to do to get money, then tell us that." Holloway then said it would be good for everyone to go home, take a vacation.
The length of this session, it’s more than a month longer than expected, is clearly straining nerves. And there were plenty of raised voices in this debate. Take when House Senior Budget Chairman Nelson Dollar took issue with Henry Michaux, who served in the same position when the Democrats were in power back in 2010: "When you passed that budget with a $518 million hole in it. Funding programs on anticipated federal money for which the actual provision admits that congress had taken no action for."
There were also heated exchanges ranging from if colleagues can do basic math to arguments over Obamacare, Medicaid and the fate of rural hospitals.
Representative Marilyn Avila was one of those to call for the rhetoric to end, saying, "We’ve lost the ability to be statesmen."
Speaker Thom Tillis was the last to discuss the bill. "This is a good budget. The truth will get out about this budget." It’s clear both parties believe the truth on the budget will get out.
It’s also now clear the $21 billion plan will become law. Not long after it passed the house, Governor Pat McCrory said he will sign the bill. But first the House has to vote on the measure one more time. That vote is scheduled for Saturday morning.