The word from Raleigh is that the North Carolina legislature plans to vote on the state budget next week.
The state fiscal year began on July 1, so even if the legislature passes a budget next week, it’s still a couple of months late.
In the past, the budget has been held up because Republicans and Democrats couldn’t reach an agreement. However, this year the Republicans have veto-proof majorities in both the state House and Senate, so this year the problem according to legislators is that the House Republicans and the Senate Republicans haven’t been in agreement. Since in both the state House and Senate the Republicans only have a veto-proof majority by one vote, it does mean that all the Republicans in the House and Senate have to agree on the budget. The Republicans can’t lose a vote of a single member and override a veto.
In general the House was in favor of bigger raises for state employees, including teachers, and lower tax cuts, while the Senate was in favor of higher tax cuts and lower raises for state employees, including teachers.
The budget bill often includes legislation that doesn’t have to do with taxing and spending. This year that may include legislation to legalize up to four new gambling casinos in North Carolina. The draft of the gambling legislation that has been making the rounds would legalize casino gambling in Rockingham, Anson and Nash counties.
Both state House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) and President Pro Tem of the Senate Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) have make public statements in favor of legalizing casino gambling, indicating some legislation is in the works whether or not it is included in the budget.
Whatever happens it doesn’t appear the state is on track for a repeat of 2019, when the legislature and Gov. Roy Cooper couldn’t reach an agreement on the budget and, as a result, no state budget was passed.