Senate budget grows less than Cooper proposal

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NC Money

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The Latest on North Carolina Senate Republicans unveiling their state government budget proposal for the next two years (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

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North Carolina Senate Republicans want to grow the state government budget for the next fiscal year at about half the rate of what Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper proposed two months ago.

Senate leader Phil Berger and top budget-writers unveiled their spending proposal Tuesday through mid-2019. They say the plan would provide 2.5 percent more to spend next year than the current-year budget allows. Cooper proposed a 5.1 percent increase.

The GOP budget proposal controls the rate of growth in part by incorporating its previously announced plan to reduce further individual and corporate income tax rates.

Berger says the Senate is keeping to principles of avoiding temptations to spend all the revenues that enter the state’s coffers annually.

The Senate proposal does include teacher, principal and state employee pay raises and another $150 million to address Hurricane Matthew recovery.

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3:40 a.m.

The North Carolina Senate is close to rolling out its state government budget proposal for the next two years.

Senate Republicans hoped to unveil highlights Tuesday afternoon, with a schedule to pass the budget bill through the chamber by Friday. It’s unclear if senators will insert any initiatives Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper proposed in his budget.

The approved Senate plan will go to the House, which will pass its own budget.

GOP leaders hope to finalize a compromise plan earlier than usual because they’ve been working closely together. Rep. David Lewis of Dunn says the goal is to get the budget to Cooper by June 15.

Otherwise tough decisions have been eased partly by a projected $580 million surplus, which means additional cash to save, spend or cut taxes.

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