The Republican-led North Carolina Senate passed its budget proposal along party lines early Friday morning.
The $22.9 billion dollar plan would spend more than $500 million less than a plan offered by Democratic Governor Roy Cooper.
Senate Democrats debated the budget bill for more than two hours, arguing it would favor wealthy people with tax cuts. But Republicans like Senator Harry Brown touted the plan's fiscal restraint.
"I think we have tried to grow a rainy day fund to protect us for that next recession so we won't have to deal with that again. I think that's the right approach,” Brown said.
He added the spending bill helps the little guy. "Trying to give our small businesses, those that employ five or 10 people, an opportunity to hire a few more people to keep stimulating this economy is a smart thing,” he said.
Passage of the senate proposal is just the first step in the lengthy budgeting process. The House will release its own plan--then the two chambers will negotiate a final two-year spending package.