With Most Republicians, NC Senate Gives Tentative OK To Budget

The state Senate has tentatively approved a two-year spending proposal that lets a pair of "temporary" taxes finally expire and includes other fiscal provisions backed by Republicans.

A majority of G-O-P members joined Democrats in backing the plan, which would spend 20 billion dollars for the fiscal year starting July first. The bill also calls for nearly tripling the amount of debt sought by the House in its budget.

A final Senate vote is expected tomorrow.

The Senate would borrow more than a billion dollars largely for a host of education projects that Democratic leaders say are necessary to help the state train workers and build research to create high-tech jobs.

There's no requirement that voters approve the bonds by referendum, which Governor Easley and State Treasurer Richard Moore would prefer and would reduce debt interest. Senate leaders contend borrowing remains cheap and the projects are too important to wait for a vote.