The General Assembly came to terms with this year's budget at the close of the week, and the best summary of the action was from the Wilmington Star News:
House and Senate leaders agreed Friday on a budget for the coming year that cuts both sales and income taxes and gives state employees large raises but leaves out a minimum wage increase and a landfill moratorium.
Essentially no major changes in funding other than the increase in teacher's pay (a good thing) and the cutting of the tax rates (also a good thing). But the two measures that could be seen as progressive victories, the minimum wage and the landfill moratorium were pushed out by "House Leadership" A.K.A. Jim Black on a claim that policy provisions should not be included in the budget. So said the man that held up last year's budget over a provision to help his optometrist buddies and required mandatory eye exams. It would be easy to say that Black learned from his ways, but it would probably be more accurate to say that Black is all for policy proposals when they aid special interests and against them when they benifit the people.
And the chances of the moratorium being passed? not very good:
The Senate wanted a budget provision to require an 18-month moratorium on landfill construction. House leaders declined to consider it unless it was in a separate bill, so the provision was pulled, Hagan said.
Rep. Jim Crawford, D-Granville, a budget negotiator, said a moratorium bill will be filed in the House, but Basnight said he doubted it would be approved.