This Week At The NC General Assembly: Focusing On A Final Budget

Jul 7, 2014

Credit NC General Assembly

North Carolina lawmakers say they'll have a busy next few days hashing out differences in their state budget plans.

It's likely there will be fewer lawmakers roaming around the legislative building this week. A select group of Senate and House negotiators are expected to hunker down and focus on the state's spending plan. They'll need to resolve differences in their adjustments to the budget for this fiscal year.

One of the sticking points is teacher pay. Senate leaders are offering larger raises than House members, but they would cut more than 7,000 classroom assistants to help pay for them. House Speaker Thom Tillis says he won't get behind that plan.

"We believe that we can get to a good place in terms of a pay raise that's well received by the teachers that doesn't require the kind of cuts and terminations of teacher assistants in the classrooms, and I might add, it's not just teacher assistants, because that funding is also used to pay for teachers in the classroom," he says.

"I'm hoping that they'll come to our side on that because we've talked to the teachers, and I think some of (them) would rather have less of a pay raise as long as they can have their teacher assistants with them," says Rep. Pat McElraft (R-Emerald Isle).

Tillis says he's hoping the two chambers will negotiate in public. Historically, key budget decisions have been made behind closed doors.