Legislature Faces Big Policy Decisions After Slow Start

After half a year, the General Assembly has little to show for its work. The Legislature still faces decisions that include tightening rules on landfills, tinkering with ethics rules passed last year and providing health coverage for more uninsured citizens.

Ran Coble is executive director of the nonpartisan North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research. He says state lawmakers "wait until the last minute to do their best work."

Perhaps most significant of all is approving a state budget, a process that has slowed while members negotiate a deal to eliminate the counties' share of Medicaid expenses.

Budget negotiators also must decide whether to let "temporary" taxes expire and whether to create new ones for local governments.

Linda Garrou is a Democratic Senator from Forsyth County and one
of that chamber's chief budget negotiators.

She says the work -isn't- easy. "If it were easy," she says, "we could have done it the day after we got here."