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April 18 12:40
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House passes state budget with enough votes to override an eventual veto


May 04, 2011
After two long days of debate the North Carolina House passed House Bill 200 (a.k.a: State Budget Act) in a vote of 72 to 47. It now goes to the Senate where it is expected to pass with some modifications, therefore requiring a conference committee to reconcile the differences before going to the Governor. The vote was along strict party lines except for five Democrats who sided with the 67 Republicans voting for the budget.

The 72 affirmative votes are significant beyond the fact that they constitute a majority. They also constitute a 3/5 majority which would be required to override a gubernatorial veto if those votes hold through the conference reconciliation process. There are enough Republicans in the Senate to override a Perdue veto.

Click here to download a copy of H 200 to review the specific provisions of the House's budget proposal.

The vote came after the budget was published last week, and two days of debate with over 45 amendments, something that is unusual from the way the budget has been handled in the past. In prior years, under Democrat control, the budget was typically presented and voted on immediately with little or no debate allowed. During the debate yesterday and today, even many of the Democrats commended the Republican leadership on the process used.

The debate was strictly along party lines. Republicans extolled the plan because it cut spending and not only avoided a tax increase but actually reduced taxes, notably the "temporary" one-cent sales tax that was added in 2009. Republicans pointed out that the plan does not call for any teaching positions being eliminated although it would eliminate some non-classroom positions and teacher assistant position in grade 2 and 3 but retain those in K—1. Overall the budget calls for an approximately 8.8% reduction in K-12 spending, about 11% in the community colleges budgets and a 15% reduction in the University budget. Those number are subject to change after a more thorough study of the final bill. Check back later for more on the details.

Democrats dominated the debate, with most speaking in favor of more spending even if it requires more taxes.

Rep Bill Cook participated in the debate, making a relatively rare appearance in speaking on the floor. We'll try to get video of his comments, so check back later for that also.

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