Friday, June 29, 2007

Greetings From Raleigh 06-29-07

As the end of the fiscal year approaches, House members worked diligently this past week to get a permanent spending plan in place for the next two years. We came close, but in the end agreed that we need at least another month to continue negotiations. Negotiations are particularly complex this year because leaders in both chambers want to develop a plan that takes back a significant share of the Medicaid expenses from the counties. Our initial budget proposal in the House recommended giving the counties $100 million based on their Medicaid costs, freeing up money for school construction and other critical local needs.

We are also looking at a plan that over several years would totally take over all of the counties’ Medicaid costs in exchange for some revenues, such as a portion of the sales tax that counties receive. The total county cost of Medicaid is expected to reach $733 million in the next five years and shifting the cost to the state will allow better local financial planning. Negotiations on this plan will continue next week.

Members of the House continued work to strengthen an ethics policy in the state, protect your health and the health of our state workers, and to guard against disasters such as the explosion and fire last year at the hazardous waste plant in Apex.

Members of the North Carolina National Guard were honored in the Chamber for all of the service they have given our nation abroad.

Please remember that you can listen to each day’s session, committee meetings and press conferences on the General Assembly’s website at Once on the site, select “audio,” and then make your selection – House Chamber, Senate Chamber, Appropriations Committee Room or Press Conference Room.

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