Hoping it will help jump start negotiations on North Carolina’s budget, state senators are offering major concessions to the House. But they want something in return.
For weeks now senior budget writers from both the House and Senate have been talking, just not about the numbers in their budgets.
"We have had discussion on the economic development proposals and the Medicaid proposals," said Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger.
"I think we are....," Berger then took a long pause before finishing,"closer than we have ever been in getting those things worked out."
That’s not saying much.
Both the House and Senate want to overhaul Medicaid but differ on how. And they have very different views on economic development. The senate budget includes a proposal to redistribute sales tax revenues by population. It’s a controversial plan which would hurt urban counties but helps rural ones. Governor McCrory has pledged to veto any budget including that provision.
Now the Senate has agreed to drop these from its plan. In exchange, Berger said they want the house to cut hundreds of millions of dollars of spending from their budget in order to hit a spending target of $21.65 billion dollars.
As for Medicaid reform and sales tax redistribution, those issues aren’t dead. Berger says the Senate will bring them up as separate policy bills.