Breaking News: This story will be updated throughout the day.
The House gave final approval to its $22.9 billion budget at about 12:30 a.m. Friday, calling the spending plan a responsible fiscal blueprint that balances planning for the future with moving the state forward.
However, some House Democrats say the budget doesn’t go far enough toward that goal.
The budget passed on third reading shortly after midnight on Friday in an 80-31 vote, mostly along party lines. with the exception of one Republican who voted against the budget and 13 Democrats who voted for the measure.
The bill passed on second reading around 10:30 p.m. Thursday in an 82-34 vote.
Now the bill will head to the Senate for a concurrence vote. but the bill will almost certainly end up in a conference committee to hammer out the final details to send to the governor for signing.
Between the two budget plans the Senate plan looks to cut more taxes and save more money. while the House looks to balance moderate tax cuts with spending on infrastructure.
The House budget cuts personal and business taxes, though not as deeply as the Senate’s budget plan passed last month. The House spending plan targets certain industries for tax cuts, whereas the Senate budget takes more of a broad approach to its tax cuts.
The House budget represents a 2.5 percent increase over the 2016-17 budget and includes teacher raises, as well as targeted bonuses, and infrastructure spending, including broadband and transportation projects.
“This is a great budget, this is a budget that cuts taxes, invests in critical needs, that gives teachers and state employees a well deserved pay raise, that puts aside money to save for those rainy days that we know all too often come, and prioritizes the investments that we believe the people of this state want us to make,” House Speaker Rep. Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) said. “And we’ve been lucky we had a great surplus again this year. And I say luck because it is also because of the great policies we’ve enacted. We’ve got a great regulatory environment, we got a great tax structure, some of the lowest taxes in the country now, and that’s not accidental.”
The House budget would direct an additional $263 million to the state Savings Reserve, bringing the fund to its highest level — $1.82 billion.
The budget includes raises for most state employees as well in the form of $1,000 increases in each of the two coming fiscal years.
Moore handed over the press conference to Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-Wake), the chief budget writer in the House, to continue introducing the spending plan.
“This is a sound and responsible budget that does address the needs of our citizens, and does move this state forward,” Dollar said. “We believe this package that we have presented is a balanced approach.”
He said that the budget balances tax reductions with infrastructure investments to prepare the state to be more competitive in key areas of business such as manufacturing.
“Republicans have learned the lessons of the Great Recession, and we believe that as the times are good that we have to continue to remember those lessons and prepare for down the road, hopefully not sometime soon, when the revenues are not coming in,” Dollar said.