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State House Passes Budget Plan With Tax Cuts, Raises For Some Teachers

State officials announced a $22.3 billion state budget.
Dave Crosby
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State officials announced a $22.3 billion state budget.

The state House passed its budget just after midnight last night. The House plan would cut taxes, fund pay increases for some teachers, and give an across-the-board $1,000 raise to state employees. It would also add $260 million  to the state's 'rainy day' fund.

"It passes along further tax relief, at the same time it invests in the critical needs that we need to fund," said House Speaker Tim Moore. "It's a great budget all around."

Cumberland County Democrat William Richardson was one of many Democrats who voted against the plan. Richardson opposed moving so much money to the state reserves.

"What we are seeing in this state right now is not a thunderstorm on the horizon, or a hurricane approaching us - it is here over us," he said. "We have essential services and essential problems we are not addressing."

Democrats filed a number of amendments attempting to move funds from the school voucher program to pay for more teachers or classroom supplies, but none of those amendments passed.

There are still more negotiations ahead. Now that the House and Senate have each passed their own plans, the two chambers will work together on a final budget.

"I'm optimistic that we're going to sit down and work out the few differences we have, and come up with a product that's good for the entire state," Moore said.

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