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State budget negotiations go nowhere - again

This week legislative budget negotiations are starting out looking a lot like last week with Republican senators skipping a House budget meeting and the lead House negotiator recapping the stalemate.

Rep. Nelson Dollar of Cary, the House budget lead, said there were no formal budget meetings over the weekend on the proposed $21 billion plan.

House and Senate Republicans can’t agree on how big teacher raises should be. The House wants 6 percent and the Senate, 11 percent. The Senate would make big cuts to teacher assistants and Medicaid that the House doesn’t want. Gov. Pat McCrory is backing the House proposal.

In an interview, Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca said senators didn’t attend Monday’s meeting because they were working on another budget offer.

Dollar said the Senate cuts would result in more than 16,120 elderly and disabled Medicaid recipients in long-term care and 21,445 in private living arrangements losing their coverage.

It’s unclear that the federal government would allow the state to eliminate people from the Medicaid rolls in time for savings to be realized this year, Dollar said.

The chambers’ positions on state employee salaries have remained the same, with the House proposing raises of $1,000 plus benefits vs. the Senate’s $1,000, which includes benefits.

Bonner: 919-829-4821
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