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NC Budget Stalemate Costs Taxpayers Thousands

PHOTO: The fiscal year began July 1, with no agreement on a state budget from North Carolina lawmakers. Photo by: W. Edward Callis III.
PHOTO: The fiscal year began July 1, with no agreement on a state budget from North Carolina lawmakers. Photo by: W. Edward Callis III.
July 14, 2014

RALEIGH, N.C. - The meter is running for the North Carolina General Assembly to pass a new budget. Lawmakers were to agree on the details before the Independence Day holiday.

But now, the daily bill to keep the state Legislature open is running around $50,000, according to Logan Smith, communications director for Progress North Carolina.

"That's slightly higher than the average teacher's yearly salary including benefits," said Logan. "Every day they go past the deadline, that's another teacher's salary wasted because lawmakers can't reach a deal. We think it's important to track that."

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle were scheduled to work out their budget differences Friday, but the meeting was canceled. The House plans another budget meeting Monday afternoon.

Gov. Pat McCrory has promised to veto any plan that contained the Senate's proposal to raise teacher salaries by 11 percent, calling the plan too costly.

Smith countered by saying the time and money wasted while lawmakers struggle to reach an agreement is costly.

"Every dollar we spend on running the General Assembly past their deadline," said Logan. "That's another dollar taken away from education or roads."

In addition to teacher salaries, lawmakers also disagree on funding for Medicaid and teacher assistants.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC