A month late, lawmakers nearing final budget agreement
State Republicans say they're closing in on a final state budget that was supposed to be in place a month ago. House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger said yesterday that tax changes and many other differences have been worked out after negotiations late last week. They say the tax agreement would lower rates on individuals more deeply than current law directs. But those deeper reductions wouldn't happen unless the state reaches certain revenue thresholds.
State lawmakers say they’ve resolved disagreements about income tax cuts, but the House and Senate still haven’t agreed on other aspects of the budget. Senate leader Phil Berger says one remaining sticking point is whether to allow casinos in four rural counties.
The House and Senate also disagree on funding for a new nonprofit called NC Innovation. The group is asking for more than a billion dollars to help entrepreneurs from the state’s research universities. Berger isn’t ruling out the possibility of passing state employee raises as separate legislation, known as a mini-budget.
“There's always the prospect of mini-budgets, if we're unable to reach agreement on the full budget. I remain satisfied that we're going to reach an agreement on the budget,” Berger said.
Berger says he’s hopeful that will happen by the end of this month.