Friday, July 13, 2007

Greetings From Raleigh 07-13-07

Budget negotiators from both houses continue to make progress on the state's spending plan for this fiscal year, having agreed on pay increases of 5 percent for educators and 4 percent for other state employees. This week, the Senate also moved closer to accepting the House version of a plan to free up money in the counties for school construction and other needs. The plan would relieve counties of their Medicaid costs - more than an estimated $500 million this year -- within a few years. The plan would also give many of the state's poorest workers an earned income tax credit that would lessen some of their tax costs. The plan now returns to the House, where my colleagues and I will continue to push for greater tax relief and more money for education.

In other business, the House approved legislation this week that would better protect our children from sexual predators and keep them safer on their school buses. The House also signed off on landmark legislation to make mental health care more affordable for thousands of people in North Carolina. It's an important step forward for health care in this state and one many representatives have supported for years. We also began consideration of sweeping energy legislation.

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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