Budget negotiators decide to stay

RALEIGH House Speaker Joe Hackney told colleagues Thursday the chamber's negotiators are ready to work through Friday with their Senate counterparts to try to narrow differences. Hackney said the discussion could enter the weekend if there's good progress.

The General Assembly gave itself another two weeks to work out a two-year budget agreement, but that extra time ends next Wednesday.

Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand said it's pretty likely another stopgap spending measure to operate government would have to be approved because it will be difficult to pass a compromise before that date.

The lynchpin for the negotiations is still about finalizing how to raise $1 billion in new revenues this year.

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