Updated 06/21/2012 06:33 PM
State budget headed to Perdue's desk after legislative approval
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RALEIGH -- A state budget bill for next year is on its way to Gov. Bev Perdue's desk.
Both chambers of the General Assembly approved a compromised spending plan Thursday, but not before Democrats stepped forward to say this bill doesn't do enough for the people of North Carolina.
The votes were as expected, down party lines in the Senate and in the House. That enough to send the compromised state spending plan to Perdue but not without concerns first being expressed by opponents.
“We are turning our backs on the young children of this state. When we should do what we can to help them when they get enrolled in school so they are ready to learn,” said Democratic Whip Sen. Josh Stein, D-Wake.
The nearly $20.2 billion budget proposal is the republican leadership's attempt to fill gaps left by lost federal education dollars, patch a medicaid hole, and give teachers and state employees a pay raise.
Top budget writers said that if opponents don't like the proposal there is another option they are willing to consider. They said that means less money for several areas of the budget next year.
“$250 million less in education, $275 million less in medicaid, 12 would have a $509 million dollar flex cut,” said Rep. Paul "Skip" Stam, R-Wake.
Most Democrats didn't waiver with those arguments and still believe that Republicans could have done better, and said that it is not only the big budget items they are concerned about.
Also, things like the lack of funding for things like eugenics compensation for victims of the state's former forced sterilization program.
“The whole thing is now down the tubes because the foundation and everything the people who are out there working to find these people and have found them the funds are cut off by the end of the month so it is just down the tubes.” said Rep. Henry Michaux, D-Durham.
The next step is to find out how Perdue handles the bill which does not spend as much as she had hoped for.
The governor will now have 10 days to decide if she wants to veto or sign the budget, or let it become law without her signature.