From the N&O summary of yesterday’s press conference:
Gov. Pat McCrory and House Speaker Thom Tillis on Wednesday endorsed a new spending measure that separates top priorities – including teacher and state employee pay raises, new coal ash regulators and more Medicaid money – from the House’s broader budget bill
The new measure only amplified the feud. McCrory and Tillis debuted the mini-budget bill with great fanfare in an announcement outside the governor’s mansion that snubbed Senate leader Phil Berger, an Eden Republican, who was not invited nor consulted.
Dubbed a “mini-budget,” the bill includes the following:
• Average 5 percent pay raise for teachers.
• $1,000 salary hike for most state employees.
• 1.44 percent cost-of-living adjustment for state retirees.
• $1.8 million for 25 new coal ash regulators.
• $134 million to cover costs from unprocessed Medicaid applications.
Senate leaders, not invited to attend the press conference, are displeased with the bill for a number of reasons. Among those are the amount of money the “mini-budget” sets aside for Medicaid costs. Senators feel there is not enough allocated for that purpose.
In what could prove to be an interesting discussion, state budget director Art Pope this morning is presenting Medicaid budget figures to the Senate Appropriations committee.