July 31, 2015 Legislative Update

In This Issue…

  1. No Visible Budget Progress

No Visible Budget Progress

Once again, there is no progress to report on the 2015-2017 state budget, H 97.

There is, however, evidence that testy comments continue to be made across the Senate and House chambers. The Raleigh, NC newspaper, The News & Observer, reported July 29 that Senate Rules Committee Chairman and budget negotiator Tom Apodaca (R-Henderson) criticized the House for holding hearings on the Senate’s version of the budget rather than meeting to negotiate. “They’re too busy going over our budget to sit down with us and discuss the differences – I guess they haven’t found those out yet – and negotiate and move forward,” Apodaca said. “I’d like to encourage the House appropriations team to join with the rest of us, and let’s get home before Labor Day.”

Despite the disparagement, the House Appropriations Committee met on July 29 and spent time reviewing the education provisions in the Senate budget, as well as salaries and benefits. Committee members heard testimony from educators, superintendents, principals and representatives of retiree groups. All of the representatives supported the House’s provisions on everything from teachers’ compensation to sustaining teacher assistants to improvements to the Read to Achieve program to raises for retirees and preservation of deductions for healthcare expenses. Supplemental materials considered by legislators at that hearing can be seen here.

What do you think?

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Submitted by Evelyn Hawthorne

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For information about specific issues, please contact PENC government relations consultant Evelyn Hawthorne at lobbyist@pencweb.org.