by Sarah Curry
Director of Fiscal Policy Studies
Up until today the budget has been discussed, as it has been for decades, in a committee meeting or between legislators in their offices. Today budget negotiations were communicated through press releases. Yes, that’s right, press releases. The House, Senate and even the Governor’s office have all weighed in on budget talks via press releases today. Well, when they said the budget process was going to be open to the public, they weren’t kidding.
House Press Release, July 10, 1:14pm
The following statement is from House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) regarding the most recent budget offer from the House to the Senate:
“The House was pleased to present the fifth House offer to the Senate this morning that included our revised lottery position, increased teacher pay to an average of six percent and maintained the House’s commitment to preserving existing teacher assistant positions without impacting Medicaid eligibility. We will continue to move towards a budget compromise that fulfills the promises we made to teachers while maintaining classroom resources across the state.”
Copies of the most recent offer are available through Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-Wake).
Senate Press Release, July 10, 2:41pm
Senate Republicans offered a sixth budget offer Thursday that maintains an 11 percent pay raise for public school teachers, while offering more than $171 million for the House to earmark toward their top priorities of Medicaid and teacher assistants.
Below is a joint statement from Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown (R-Onslow):
“The Senate has bent over backward to compromise with the House by accepting over $100 million less in Medicaid, taking teacher tenure out of the equation and offering to fully fund teacher assistants – in exchange for the Senate’s top priority of an 11 percent teacher pay raise. We have now offered more than $171 million to be used toward their top priorities of Medicaid and teacher assistants. This is a serious effort to compromise, and we look forward to hearing from our House colleagues.”
Governor McCrory’s Press Release, July 10, 3:13 pm
Governor Pat McCrory released the following statement on the ongoing negotiations over providing much needed raises to North Carolina teachers:
“This morning, I received a call from Speaker Tillis and they have moved to a 6 percent raise. In an effort to come to a resolution, but with some concerns, I have agreed to accept that position. I’ve moved from a 3 percent raise to a 6 percent raise for teachers.
“We have a plan that doesn’t raise taxes, provides meaningful raises for teachers without cutting thousands of teacher assistants and avoids ending critical services to the blind, elderly, disabled and those with Alzheimer’s disease.
“This is a long-term, sustainable and affordable plan in which I stand with our teachers, our students, our principals, our superintendents, business leaders, House Democrats and House Republicans. The Senate is currently standing by themselves with no visible support outside of the Beltline of our state capital.
“I will veto the latest Senate plan or any plan that resembles it because I know of no financial way we can go beyond the House proposal without eliminating thousands of teacher assistants, cutting Medicaid recipients and putting at risk future core state services.
“I’m committed to clearing my calendar next week to meet with any Senate or House member – both Republicans and Democrats – to personally communicate my resolve and to communicate to teachers who are waiting in limbo as the school year approaches.”