Local/State

NC Senate spends less than House in budget changes

Monday, June 11, 2012

North Carolina state Senate leaders are taking a more cautious approach to proposed budget adjustments than the House by spending less and setting aside more money in reserve in case Medicaid costs get out of hand.

Senate Republicans spoke Monday about their $20.1 billion plan next year for state government, about $127 million less than what the House offered.

The Senate would cancel fewer required spending reductions for the public schools than the House. Senate leader Phil Berger of Eden told reporters the GOP didn't feel comfortable using one-time tax windfalls to trim those school reductions.

"Our K-12, community college and university systems are given flexibilty on how to use this money to recruit, retain, and reward excellent instructors and teachers," Berger said. "With the flex cut approach, agencies will be able to determine their own priorities and this is a reasonable way to handle this."

However, Gov. Bev Perdue urged members of the Senate to do more to restore funding to North Carolina's schools.

"The Senate budget means more pink slips for teachers and classroom cuts that would threaten our children's future," said Perdue. "It doesn't have to be this way. I have outlined two alternatives to fund our schools, but Senate Republicans have rejected both. This budget is simply not good enough for our children or the economic future of our State. I call on the Senate to do better."

Most workers in state departments would get a 1.2 percent pay raise, but raises would be optional in the public schools and higher education. The House plan offered $250 bonuses to everyone.

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(Copyright ©2014 ABC11-WTVD-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved - The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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