The fiscal year for the state of North Carolina began on July 1, but as of Sept. 3 no budget has been passed by the General Assembly.

The legislature traditionally passes a two-year budget in odd years and in even years makes adjustments. However, in 2019 Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the budget passed by the Republican legislature.  The House overrode the veto, but the Senate did not and no compromise was ever reached.

Which means that the last two-year budget passed by the legislature and signed by the governor was in 2017 and then revisions were made in 2018.

In 2019, after it became evident that the legislature and the governor were not going to reach agreement on the entire budget bill, a number of “mini-budget” bills were passed giving raises to many state employees, but not teachers.

One result of that budget impasse is that the state is flush with money, since it is basically working from a 2017 spending plan, and the fact that the folks in Raleigh were unable to reach a budget agreement in 2019 has reportedly added impetus to come to an agreement in 2021.

The problem in 2019 was that the Republicans and Democrats couldn’t agree, so far in 2021 the problem is that the Republicans and the Republicans can’t agree.  Both the state Senate and the state House are controlled by Republicans and both have passed a version of the state budget that spends about $25.7 billion.

The current issue is that the Republicans in the state House and the Republicans in the state Senate can’t reach an agreement how that $25.7 should be spent. 

President Pro Tem of the state Senate Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) has been quoted as saying no agreement is likely to be reached before the end of September.

But even when the legislature finally passes a budget, Cooper can veto it.  If the legislature can’t come up with some Democratic votes to override the veto, then it begins to look like 2019 all over again.