RALEIGH: NC House debates $21B state government budget - KCTV5

NC House debates $21B state government budget

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Representative debate the proposed state budget. Representative debate the proposed state budget.

North Carolina House lawmakers are prepared for what will likely be a lengthy debate before they vote on their proposed budget.

Lawmakers convened at noon Thursday and started discussing the budget about 12:45 pm.

The budget, which comes in at just under $21.1 billion, addresses several hot topics issues, including a 5 percent pay raise, on average, for teachers in North Carolina.

Those teachers who currently have tenure would be able to keep it and the House budget proposal does not cut teaching assistants.

The House budget differs from a proposal approved in the Senate, which would grant teachers an 11 percent raise, on average. But, that same budget cuts about half of the state's teaching assistants and would not give teachers a raise if they choose to keep their tenure status.

Additionally, the House proposal would set aside $117 million for a reserve fund for Medicaid and it would move the State Bureau of Investigation from the Department of Justice to the Department of Public Safety.

The move to DPS would take the SBI away from the oversight of Attorney General Roy Cooper and shift it to an agency under the authority of Gov. Pat McCrory.

Wide speculation is that McCrory could face Cooper is a re-election bid in 2016.

The House will consider a list of amendments to its budget proposal before voting on the measure.

Early in its discussion, Rep. Darren Jackson (D-Wake) proposed an amendment that would keep the SBI with the attorney general. Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) motioned to table the amendment.

The House is expected to take its first vote on the budget Thursday and a second vote on Friday. If approved, House lawmakers would conference with the Senate about the budget next week.

Copyright 2014 WNCN. All rights reserved.

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Beau Minnick

Beau covers the North Carolina legislature, delivering valuable insights into state politics. More>>

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