Two weeks into the new fiscal year, the N.C. General Assembly seems no closer to passing a revised state budget than it was before legislators convened in May.
It’s hot. Everyone’s getting testy. Teachers still have no raises. Medicaid is still a giant mess.
It’s anyone’s guess as to what kind of budget legislation will finally pass in Raleigh this session – or when. About the only thing that has been made clear is what kind of legislation will not pass muster with Gov. Pat McCrory.
McCrory declared last week he would veto any budget that includes the N.C. Senate’s proposal to raise teachers’ salaries by 11 percent. In response, Phil Berger, the N.C. Senate president pro tempore, noted that McCrory’s vetoes in the 2013 session barely made a ripple – the legislature overrode them. In essence, what difference would McCrory’s veto threat make this year?
But a key difference this year is there’s almost as much discord between the House and the Senate as there is between the Senate and the governor’s mansion.
House members invited school superintendents to offer some thoughts about education cuts last week during a budget conference meeting. The North Carolina senators in attendance promptly stood up and walked out of the meeting.
For once, the differences and hostilities can’t be traced back to partisan politics – McCrory is a Republican; and so are the majorities of the members of both the House and the Senate. Watching the events of the past few weeks, it’s hard to say whether that’s good or bad.
North Carolina needs a budget. Teachers need raises. Medicaid needs funding.
Pull up a chair and find some shade. This summer isn’t getting any cooler.