State Budget-Writers Try To Jump-Start Negotiations

House and Senate budget-writers met tonight before the evening legislative session to attempt to jump-start negotiations.

The new fiscal year began yesterday with only a temporary spending plan in place to get state government through July 31st.

Talks between the two chambers over taxes and paying the counties' share of Medicaid broke down late last week. The obstacle is mainly whether a tax plan would also include giving counties the authority to issue a land transfer tax if local voters approve one.

Representative Mickey Michaux told colleagues that budget-writers are aiming to get a budget passed and on to Governor Easley's desk by July 13th.

Meanwhile, the future of Medicaid relief for all 100 counties looks uncertain after the Senate failed to back a proposal backed by House Democrats last week.

The proposal would have eliminated the counties' share for Medicaid by mid-2009 while giving counties two options to raise additional revenues. But several senators expressed concern about one of the options, called the transfer tax.