With fiscal year already underway, state budget could be another month in the making
Republican lawmakers say it could take until mid-August to pass a state budget for the fiscal year that began this month.
House and Senate leaders still haven't reached an agreement on how much to cut taxes and what new projects will get funding. That means teachers and state employees will have to wait to find out about their raises.
Representative Jason Saine is one of the House budget writers and said, “To get to a good agreement, sometimes it's better to wait.”
But House Democrats held a news conference Wednesday to criticize the delay. Their leader, Representative Robert Reives of Chatham County, called on Republicans to put tax cuts and other policy disagreements into separate legislation.
He said those issues are unrelated to state government's spending needs.
“It's just like if we were holding up everything because we want to rename a river,” Reives said.
Democratic Representative Julie von Haefen said it’s a big problem as the school year begins amid a teacher shortage.
“Would you accept a contract to start a job with an undefined salary?” She said, “That is exactly what Republicans are asking our teachers to do at this point.”
Medicaid expansion is also on hold until there's a deal.
House Speaker Tim Moore said negotiations are continuing with the Senate, but he didn’t provide a timeline.