State Senate chamber
Dave DeWitt

Lawmakers in the State Senate have presented a $20.6 billion budget proposal. It would spend slightly less than Governor McCrory’s plan and offers no raises for state employees.  The plan would also increase state Medicaid spending by about $300 million and make big changes to the State Bureau of Investigation.
Republican budget writer Senator Pete Brunstetter told reporters earlier today that he knows this is a tough budget plan. He says its purpose is to make sure the state lives within its means.

McCrory gives weekly GOP address

Gov. Pat McCrory gave a national audience a glimpse into reforms he wants to implement in North Carolina.  He delivered this past weekend's GOP response to President Obama's weekly address. 

McCrory criticized what he called Washington's "weak leadership" and urged national lawmakers to give more flexibility and accountability to states.  He says he needs that kind of freedom to implement a different approach to Medicaid reform.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory introduced his first budget proposal this week and within the measure calls on state legislators to restore seven million of dollars in funding for drug courts. The funding for drug courts was cut two years ago and resources for treatment were slashed last year. Drug courts are designed to help repeat offenders of drug laws get treatment instead of going to jail.

Gov. Pat McCrory
NC Governor's Office

This week's budget proposal from Gov. Pat McCrory includes tweaks to funding for economic development programs. 

The governor unveiled his spending plan Wednesday.  It would add money to a new economic branding strategy as well as a program that supports main streets in small communities.  But it cuts funds for two non-profits and a foundation that provide grants meant to support job growth.

Gov. Pat McCrory
Governor's Office

As he unveiled his proposed $20.6 billion dollar budget yesterday, the banner behind Governor Pat McCrory trumpeted the three initiatives he wanted to emphasize. It read: “Economy. Education. Efficiency.” In reality, though, education should have been number one, because it’s by far the largest expenditure and the area where the biggest fights are likely.

Governor McCrory's recommended budget
NC Office of State Budget and Management

Governor Pat McCrory released his budget proposal earlier today. It’s a $20.6 billion plan that emphasizes spending on education and economic development and sets aside money for emergencies. It doesn’t seek to create any new high-priced programs.

Earlier today, Governor McCrory told reporters in a news conference at the historic old State Capitol that North Carolina needs to fix its broken government.

The White House

White House officials are warning each state that spending cuts due to take effect this Friday will have a significant impact.  Military personnel in North Carolina are bracing for the worst.  Army leaders face more than $136 million in base operations cuts.  Jason Furman is a deputy director of the President's National Economic Council.  He says it's uncertain how those cuts will play out.

"It is pretty much a department-by-department thing," Furman says.

Governor Bev Perdue has vetoed the budget sent to her by the Republican-led General Assembly. This marks the second year in a row the governor has used her veto stamp on a legislative spending plan. Perdue said this morning in a news conference that she was willing to compromise but was rebuffed by the GOP leadership.

Lawmakers are preparing to wrap up their legislative session as they wait to see what Governor Bev Perdue will do with the budget they passed last week.

State lawmakers failed to include matching money in the budget they passed yesterday for federal funds to help administer the 2012 elections. The state must provide 660 thousand dollars in order to receive four million dollars in matching funds. It's authorized by the Help America Vote act, passed by Congress in 2002. Lawmakers included money in previous House and Senate budget versions, but not the consensus budget. Brent Laurenz heads the North Carolina Center for Voter Education, a non-profit, non-partisan organization in Raleigh.