Senate Budget Plan Heavy On Medicaid Spending

RALEIGH (AP) -- Senate Republicans say ever-rising costs for Medicaid are siphoning away money in state government that could be used to help public education and law enforcement and raise employee pay.

Senate budget-writers discussed Monday their proposed two-year state budget being heard later in the day by subcommittees and voted through the chamber this week.

They say the proposal must set aside $1.2 billion in additional funds through mid-2015 for Medicaid expenses. Sen. Pete Brunstetter of Forsyth County says the budget's attempts to get costs under control within the health insurance plan prevented senators from offering pay raises for state employees next year.

Gov. Pat McCrory says the Senate budget aligns well with his proposal on Medicaid but says further dialogue is needed on several Senate provisions that are different.


The Republican-led Senate is giving the public its first glimpse into the chamber's North Carolina budget proposal for the next two years.

Senate leader Phil Berger's office issued a news release Sunday evening highlighting the spending plan that would spend $20.6 billion next year -- essentially the same as Gov. Pat McCrory's budget proposal for next year.

Numbers provided by Berger show spending in major categories would be mostly flat except for health and human services and natural and economic resources. Medicaid spending would grow 11 percent compared to this year.

Republicans also want to shift the State Bureau of Investigation from the oversight of Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper to an agency under McCrory's purview.

More budget details were expected later Sunday and Monday.