This afternoon the House held a conference committee hearing on the budget negotiations. Rep. Nelson Dollar opened the meeting and began by outlining the items in controversy with the Senate:

  1. Teacher Pay Plan
  2. Education – Teacher Assistants
  3. Health and Human Services – Eligibility for certain Medicaid patients

He then went through each of these items and showed where the House moved from their previous offer to their current 5th offer. He also highlighted the Senate changes and compared to the House’s most recent offer.

The House’s 6 percent teacher pay plan will bring NC teacher salary ranking to 3rd in the southeast and 31st in the nation. The senate has stayed firm on their offer of 11 percent.

The House has decided to adjust the budgeted amount to teacher assistants, not by cutting any existing positions or funding, but deciding not to increase the already approved spending amount. The Senate’s position remains unchanged.

The House cut HHS by an additional $24 million to a total amount of $120 million from HHS. The Senate also increased their cuts to HHS, but the total amount of cuts to be agreed upon is still $135 million apart.

The House has painted a dark picture for conferees if the Senate budget is put into place with regards with Medicaid eligibility and teacher assistants. Many House members asked about the changes presented in the House budget with a large focus on teacher pay calculations.

The good news from this meeting is that the budget is resolved except for these three items. The bad news is these are very large items in the budget that have strong opposing opinions in both chambers.

You can see the presentation and the details of each spending item here.