NC House releases proposed budget, differs from Senate

by: Tina Terry Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - North Carolina House members spent Tuesday debating a proposed budget they released earlier that day.

The $21 billion budget looks a lot different than the one the Senate approved just a week ago. One of the key changes is teacher pay.

"The Senate Budget was throwing something on the wall and let's see what sticks," said Judy Kidd, President of the Classroom Teachers Association of NC.

Kidd pointed out that the Senate budget slashed funding for teaching assistants, but the new House Budget would restore funding for kindergarten through third grade.

The Senate budget called for an 11 percent raise for teachers, but required them to hand over tenure.  The House budget calls for a 5 percent raise, but allows tenured teachers to keep their status.

"Eleven percent raise while it would be great; it was not realistic in the state budget realm of thinking.  Five percent is more inline," Kidd said.

House Republicans hope the lottery will sell more tickets to help pay for those raises.

"This will fit well. We're very confident, the lottery is very confident we will more than meet the goal," said Rep. Nelson Dollar of Wake.

The Senate budget would cut Medicaid eligibility by up to 15,000 people, but the House budget would restore that funding.

“We are pleased that the House Budget moves Medicaid reform forward and takes a responsible approach to protecting North Carolina’s most vulnerable citizens,” said Kevin Howell, a spokesperson for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

While the House budget seems to appease more people, local house member Kelly Alexander warned the state is on a dangerous path.

"We have needs that are going up and if you grasp the needs that are going up and the tax revenue that’s falling.  That's the train wreck," he said.

Both budgets take control of the State Bureau of Investigation away from the attorney general and gives it to the governor.

However, the House budget leaves the crime lab under the AG's supervision.

The AG's office sent a statement to Eyewitness News on Tuesday calling that a bad move.