Under the Dome

NC budget standoff in historic territory

Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-Wake), center, senior chair of the House Appropriations committee, confers with other committee chairs Rep. Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson), left, and Rep. Donny Lambeth (R-Forsyth) during a committee meeting at the Legislative Office Building in Raleigh on Wednesday, July 29, 2015. The N.C. House and N.C. Senate have yet to reach a budget agreement for the 2015 session.
Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-Wake), center, senior chair of the House Appropriations committee, confers with other committee chairs Rep. Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson), left, and Rep. Donny Lambeth (R-Forsyth) during a committee meeting at the Legislative Office Building in Raleigh on Wednesday, July 29, 2015. The N.C. House and N.C. Senate have yet to reach a budget agreement for the 2015 session. cseward@newsobserver.com

The latest state budget extension – the third of the ongoing lawmaking session – has set a new deadline of Sept. 18 for final passage of a state budget that was supposed to take effect on July 1.

If it holds, as the chart shows, it would make this year’s adoption one of the latest budgets since the 1960s. Of course, it already is.

Rep. Chuck McGrady, a key Republican budget writer in the House, had his office assemble the accompanying chart. He’s called this period both purgatory and limbo.

The Democratic leader in the House highlighted the cost of the delay, as lawmakers draw pay and per diems past the typical adjournment period. Rep. Larry Hall of Durham pegged the extensions’ cost at more than $2 million.

“This continuing resolution does not create jobs, does not improve education, does not provide health care, but it does cost,” Hall said in a statement.

House members have agreed to find cuts of about $300 million from the budget they adopted, adding to the decision-making pressure. The House is much more diverse than the Senate, in numbers and beliefs about the state’s spending. It’s made for a slog.

By week’s end, it seemed that, based on numerous comments from key lawmakers, this deadline will stick.

J. Andrew Curliss

Breaking it down

Lawmakers so far have agreed to broad “targets” for spending in the current fiscal year budget. Here’s where the House and Senate started, and the compromise result for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2015.

TOTAL GENERAL FUND

Compromise: $21.74 billion

House: $22.22 billion

Senate: $21.33 billion

Education

Compromise: $12.05 billion

House: $12.15 billion

Senate: $11.87 billion

Health and Human Services

Compromise: $5.12 billion

House: $5.28 billion

Senate: $5.07 billion

Justice and Public Safety

Compromise: $2.44 billion

House: $2.46 billion

Senate: $2.46 billion

Natural and economic resources

Compromise: $372 million

House: $436.5 million

Senate: $380.6 million

General Government

Compromise: $425.4 million

House: $450.6 million

Senate: $421.9 million

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