State budget deal could be reached in days, NC House Speaker Tim Moore says

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Four months into the new fiscal year, North Carolina’s most powerful elected officials finally sat down to meet and discuss the state budget in person. A compromise budget could be passed as soon as next week, House Speaker Tim Moore said.

The budget would allocate billions of dollars in taxpayer money for raises, education, tax cuts and capital projects.

Moore told reporters on Tuesday that he, Gov. Roy Cooper, Senate leader Phil Berger, Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue and House Minority Leader Robert Reives met Friday at the Executive Mansion to negotiate the budget. The meeting is one of the final hurdles of a long, drawn-out budget process that has stretched over several months between the chambers and now, the parties.

Cooper, Blue and Reives are Democrats. Moore and Berger are Republicans, as is the majority in both the House and the Senate.

“We had a candid and frank discussion about where we are on the budget, and so we expect to get an offer back from the governor this week to our latest proposal. We haven’t received it,” Moore said after the Tuesday House session.

“We had breakfast. It was quiche,” Moore said about the Friday meeting. What’s not being negotiated is Medicaid expansion, which Moore also told The News & Observer last week.

“We had a very candid conversation, and I relayed to the governor just what I’ve told others just that we do not have the votes in our caucus to expand Medicaid,” he said.

However Moore did say Tuesday that Republican leaders “would put more money into education.”

He said raises and bonuses for teachers and state employees are also part of the negotiations, but will not share the exact amounts of raises or tax cuts being talked about “to honor the spirit of the agreement.”

Tax cuts remain a Republican priority. Budget proposals from the House and Senate would reduce and eventually eliminate the corporate income tax rate.

“We continue to believe that the tax cuts are very important in North Carolina. We believe that’s a key part — where we are as a state right particularly compared to other states that are upside down is due in large part to our low tax and low regulatory environment. They go hand in glove to bring those new businesses here.”

Berger’s office also confirmed the meeting.

For more North Carolina government and politics news, listen to the Under the Dome politics podcast from The News & Observer and the NC Insider. You can find it at link.chtbl.com/underthedomenc or wherever you get your podcasts.

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