More than two weeks into the new fiscal year and the NC House and Senate continue to struggle to come to agreement over how to adjust the second year of the two-year budget passed last year. The main sticking points remain funding for teacher raises and Medicaid. From WRAL:
Senior Budget Chairman Nelson Dollar said House and Senate subcommittees have made substantial progress in resolving differences in several budget areas, but not in education and Health and Human Services – the two most critical areas of dispute.
Dollar, R-Wake, told the committee the two chambers remain divided over teacher and state employee raises, funding for teaching assistants and Medicaid eligibility – the same sticking points that have stalled conference talks for weeks.
He said the House has agreed to offer a 6 percent average raise to teachers, up from 5 percent in its initial proposal. The Senate, he said, has not moved from its 11 percent raise position.
He also said the latest Senate offer, unveiled last Thursday, actually cuts more funding from HHS, rather than less.
The $233 million in Medicaid cuts in the Senate plan, Dollar said, would mean the loss of an additional $400 million in matching federal funds, totaling a $633 million cut to current services.