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Politics

North Carolina budget action could happen next week, House speaker says

Legislative action on a final North Carolina state government budget — a plan with or without formal support from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper — could happen as soon as next week, a top Republican lawmaker said Tuesday.

House Speaker Tim Moore told reporters that he, Senate leader Phil Berger, and House and Senate Democratic leaders met in person Friday morning with Cooper to work on negotiations over a two-year spending plan. Berger and Moore had sent Cooper a counteroffer a few days earlier.

“We had a very candid conversation,” Moore said after a floor session. Berger's office confirmed later Tuesday that the Executive Mansion meeting with Cooper occurred.

Moore said Republicans expect to receive another offer from Cooper later this week, after which “we hope to be able to proceed either with something the governor would sign next week” or something the GOP-controlled legislature prefers.

Going forward without Cooper’s support could lead to a veto and attempts by Republicans to gain enough Democratic votes to complete an override.

The speaker said action could be delayed, however, as lawmakers attempt to approve new boundaries for U.S. House and General Assembly by the end of next week.

GOP legislators largely have been reticent to discuss details on their points of contention with Cooper. But competing plans unveiled earlier this year show stark differences over tax cuts, education spending and teacher pay raises.

Moore reiterated Tuesday that broad Medicaid expansion to hundreds of thousands of low-income adults like Cooper has been pitching isn't something Republicans in his chamber will support. The legislature's budget offer to Cooper last week didn't contain an expansion component like what the governor seeks.

The state's fiscal year began July 1. State government still operates largely at the previous year’s spending levels even without a new budget law in place.

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