How much does it cost to create state budget?

An aerial view of the North Carolina Senate floor
July 10, 2013 3:50:49 PM PDT
North Carolina lawmakers have yet to settle on a budget, and taxpayers are spending tens of thousands of dollars each day to keep the legislature running.

Lawmakers in the House and Senate say they would like to get out before the end of July, but there are still a lot of loose ends to tie.

But the clock is ticking.

Each extra day that state lawmakers spend at the Legislature costs the state $50,000.

At that rate, the state government will run out of money in less than three weeks.

Critics have put that $50,000 in perspective as each day is another teacher's salary, or 10 more children enrolled in pre-K, or someone receiving 142 weeks of unemployment benefits.

One issue that Republicans say must be addressed before they can agree on a budget is tax reform. However, it was not debated publicly on Wednesday. Republicans said those conversations are happening behind closed doors.

Supporters of the tax changes Republicans are trying to agree on say tax reform will pay for itself.

"If it takes until the end of July, but they come up with meaningful tax reform and cuts, we think that would be a very good deal for the people of North Carolina," Francis De Luca of Civitas Institute said.

Republican House member David Lewis said a new tax plan is not a done deal, but lawmakers are close to knowing if they can get a deal done this time around.

Senate Leader Phil Berger said Republicans in the two chambers are close and expects a deal by the end of the month.

If not, the money to keep the government running runs out at the end of the month. If there isn't a deal on the budget, there is a possibility of a government shutdown that would leave thousands of people out of work.

If needed, lawmakers could pass a continuing resolution to keep the money flowing into August.

Berger told ABC11 that the Senate does not have plans to do that.

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