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Final state budget on track for passage, Cooper's desk

(WITN)
Published: Jun. 16, 2017 at 7:45 AM EDT
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The state budget looks on track to reach Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's desk before the week's end.

The Senate is expected to give its final approval on Wednesday to the two-year spending plan negotiated by General Assembly Republicans, a day after the chamber gave it tentative approval. The House scheduled its two required votes for Wednesday and Thursday.

Cooper will have decide whether to veto the measure he's already criticized for spending too little on public education and for cutting income taxes again for the wealthy and corporations. But Republicans point out nearly everyone - including low- and middle-income people - would pay less in taxes under the bill.

Not all Democrats agree with Cooper - four Democratic senators joined Republicans on Tuesday in voting for the measure.


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Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper says the budget agreement reached by Republicans at the General Assembly is fiscally irresponsible. Cooper cold be poised to veto it unless GOP lawmakers turn against the two-year spending plan that their colleagues wrote.

Cooper held a news conference Tuesday to criticize the measure, which will get its first votes later in the day. He says the final plan failed to do better on public school teacher pay even though House and Senate lawmakers agreed to spend $130 million more than their competing plans called for after final negotiations.

Cooper also criticized tax cuts in the final proposal because they benefited highest wage-earners and corporations. Those tax changes wouldn't take effect until 2019 but also benefit low- and middle-income tax filers.

When asked if he would veto the final budget, he first urged Republicans to vote against it but said "this budget is wrong for North Carolina."

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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The state budget deal reached by Republicans at the North Carolina General Assembly contains much that lawmakers will support but plenty that could cause Democrats such as Gov. Roy Cooper to oppose the plan.

The Senate was expected late Tuesday to hold the first of two votes on the final two-year spending plan. The House could follow Wednesday.

The agreement reached by House and Senate GOP negotiators includes pay raises for teachers and state employees and a retiree pension increase. There's also more money for at-risk 4-year-olds to attend preschool.

But the measure doesn't spend as much as Cooper wanted, and he's unhappy with tax cuts again benefiting the wealthy and corporations. And during a time of surpluses, Republicans directs that spending in Cooper's office be reduced by 10 percent.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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Republicans at the North Carolina General Assembly have announced a two-year state budget deal that gives raises to teachers, state employees and retirees next year but puts off income tax breaks until 2019.

Senate and House leaders unveiled details of their spending plan Monday, two weeks after negotiations between the two chambers officially opened.

The two chambers will vote later this week on the compromise measure, which would then go to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. His spokesman says it looks like the proposal doesn't do enough for education, economic development and the middle class. But Senate leader Phil Berger says the plan includes many of Cooper's priorities.

The agreement also would end the practice of automatically sending 16- and 17-year-olds charged with crimes to adult court.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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An anticipated North Carolina state budget compromise needs a little more work before it's ready for prime time.

House Speaker Tim Moore and some of his top lieutenants met Friday with Senate leader Phil Berger and his aides in Berger's office. Berger spokeswoman Amy Auth said later she's hopeful a final budget agreement would be announced Monday.

Republican lawmakers in charge of both chambers have said a two-year spending agreement is close to completion. Taxes have been a significant hang-up in negotiations. The Senate budget proposal scheduled $1 billion in tax breaks by mid-2019 compared to $350 million in the House plan.

The House and Senate must vote on the plan before sending it to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who has been critical of GOP's budget bills.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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House and Senate Republicans are still negotiating a final state budget that's supposed to take effect next month, with their views on tax breaks still among the significant differences.

Top GOP chamber leaders said talks were continuing Thursday. Legislators took procedural actions so they could vote on any final compromise early next week, but it wasn't clear whether work would be completed this weekend to do that.

Senate leader Phil Berger says hammering out a final tax plan was still being discussed, along with other items.

Both chambers want to raise the standard deduction for income tax filers. But while the Senate budget also cut income tax rates, House Republicans preferred targeted tax breaks for industries.

House Speaker Tim Moore says the sides have drawn reasonably closer on taxes.