The rumor for some time has been that casino legislation was holding up the approval of the North Carolina state budget.
It turns out that rumor is true and agreement on legislation that would legalize four new casinos in North Carolina is holding up the state House and Senate, both controlled by Republicans, from voting on the $30 billion state budget bill.
State House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) has said that he doesn’t have the 61 votes needed in the Republican caucus to pass a budget bill that includes the gaming legislation.
President Pro Tem of the state Senate Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) claims that the House is not living up to its agreement with the Senate on the budget.
Berger said that requiring the casino legislation to have 61 House Republican votes to be included in the budget bill was not part of the budget agreement between the House and Senate.
Berger in an interview said the agreement that the Senate has had with the House all along was that “If more than 50 percent of their caucus is in favor of a particular provision that it is in the budget.”
Berger went on to say, “they have at least 40 members of the caucus” in favor of the gaming legislation. Berger noted that 37 members was a majority of the 72 member Republican caucus and that 40 was well over that 37 member threshold.
It would be nearly impossible to pass a budget if every member of the majority party had to support every provision in the budget, which explains why the agreement is that if a majority of the members of the caucus agree on a provision then the entire caucus will support that provision in the budget.
In this case, Moore is stating that to include the gaming legislation in the budget he needs the support of 61 Republican members, not the 37 members that would constitute a majority of the caucus.
Moore has repeatedly stated that he is personally in favor of the gaming legislation and thinks it would be good for the state, but he simply doesn’t have the 61 votes needed to pass it in the 120 member House.