House and Senate leaders are close to finalizing next years budget, House Speaker Thom Tillis said Tuesday evening.
He put the legislature on track for a budget vote by Friday, with adjournment on July 2. The timing would leave Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue 10 days to sign or veto the budget, he said.
Right now its looking like a consensus budget that takes some of the better aspects of the House budget and some good ideas on the Senate budget in terms of changes in recurring and nonrecurring sources, Tillis said.
Negotiations were continuing into the night Tuesday, and few details on their progress were available.
The House and Senate versions of the budget differed drastically on education spending, pay raise, and transportation projects.
At least one of the bigger issues appeared to have been settled by Tuesday afternoon.
Sen. Bob Rucho, a Mecklenburg County Republican, said the budget would include raises for state employees and teachers. The House proposal included $250 one-time bonuses, while the Senate budget had 1.2 percent raises for state employees and a $84 million payment to local school districts to use for teacher raises, performance pay, or to save staff positions.
House and Senate leaders proposed major changes in education policy. The Senate budget included limiting social promotion for third graders who fail end-of-grade reading tests and a plan to end teacher tenure. The House budget included a space-holder for private school scholarship program. Corporations would receive dollar-for-dollar tax breaks for donations that allow public school students to move to private schools.
House Majority Leader Paul Stam, an Apex Republican and tax-credit proponent, said he didnt know whether it made it into the budget.
The Senate proposes to add tolls to all the states ferry routes, including two that were excluded from tolls last year, the Currituck-Knotts Island ferry, and the ferry from Hatteras to Ocracoke, which is used heavily by tourists and Ocracoke residents.
Staff writer John Frank contributed.