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Temporary taxes expire, TAs stay in new Senate budget plan; Governor has concerns

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By GARY D. ROBERTSON
Associated Press

RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- North Carolina lawmakers have come up with a budget plan that could bypass long negotiations between Republicans and Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue.

The plan would save teaching assistant positions and let temporary tax increases expire. The proposal also would eliminate an additional income tax cut.

The Senate rolled out an updated version of its spending plan that will be heard by the full appropriations committee Tuesday afternoon.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers have been negotiating a deal for days to increase public schools spending by $300 million compared with the House plan approved earlier this month. The new version restores funding for 13,000 teaching assistant positions in grades 1-3 that had been eliminated in an earlier Senate plan.

Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue says the proposed budget agreement unveiled by Republicans looks like a
"charade" for education funding and argues it would still mean thousands of public schools jobs being eliminated.

Perdue said in a prepared statement Tuesday the budget raises "enormous concerns" at first glance.

The bill would restore $390 million in funding for teaching assistants, but it would direct local districts to find $124 million in spending reductions beyond $305 million in similar cuts the past two years.

House and Senate Republican leaders told reporters Tuesday they're confident enough House Democrats will vote for the budget agreement that it would appear to withstand a veto by Perdue. Lawmakers would still have to vote again to override should she issue a veto.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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