Under the Dome

NC senator says House canceled six budget meetings

Sen. Ralph Hise, a Mitchell County Republican, says House budget writers won’t meet with their Senate counterparts to negotiate a deal.
Sen. Ralph Hise, a Mitchell County Republican, says House budget writers won’t meet with their Senate counterparts to negotiate a deal. cseward@newsobserver.com

Ranking Republican Sen. Ralph Hise is blaming House leaders for the legislature’s budget impasse, saying the chamber’s budget writers have repeatedly canceled negotiating meetings.

The Mitchell County senator and Health Committee chairman made the comments Wednesday in a radio interview on the conservative Freedom Action Network.

“We should have been done more than a month ago, and I find this entire process kind of ridiculous as we’re not even holding appropriation meetings right now,” Hise said. “We scheduled six of them and somehow they all get canceled. They’re not prepared to discuss yet those areas.”

Hise said he’s certain the legislature will need to pass another temporary budget ahead of an Aug. 14 deadline. And he said he wants to see some changes in the second temporary budget.

“If we’re going to continue in this process of continuing resolutions, we’re going to have to get spending reductions in exchange for it,” he said.

House leaders have been blaming the Senate for delays, pointing to the array of policy provisions in the chamber’s 500-page budget.

“From the House’s perspective, the Senate had tied everything into a Gordian knot,” Rep. Chuck McGrady, a House budget writer, wrote in a blog post Thursday. “Basically, the last month has been spent by the House trying to understand all the policy in the budget and considering how to untie the knot without conceding some rather significant policy positions in budget negotiations.”

Senate leaders moved economic development, sales tax distribution and Medicaid changes out of the budget this week and are running them in separate bills. But the House’s senior budget writer, Rep. Nelson Dollar of Cary, said numerous policy items remain to be negotiated.

Audio of the Hise radio interview is available here. The senator joins the program about 35 minutes into the recording.

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