Chamber votes beginning for final North Carolina state budget

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- North Carolina lawmakers are finally about to vote on a two-year spending and tax package that was supposed to be ready months ago.

The budget was supposed to be in place July 1, but negotiations have dragged through the summer.

Senate Republicans on Tuesday scheduled the first of two required chamber votes on their compromise state budget with House Republicans. The House could begin voting Wednesday. The bill would then go to Gov. Pat McCrory.

Click here to read the budget bill

The plan spends nearly $22 billion and includes money for teaching assistants and driver's education in schools.

The proposal raises early teacher pay from $33,000 to $35,000 a year, increases funding for K-12 schools, and reduces class sizes to a 1-to-16 ratio - a Senate priority. Teachers will also get a one-time $750 dollar bonus along with all other state employees.

But some teachers who spoke with ABC11 Monday said they had hoped for more.

"I feel a little confused and concerned because I thought there were going to be some better things coming from this budget," said Durham County teacher Dov Rosenberg.

In other areas, the personal income tax rate would fall in 2017, but sales taxes also would soon apply to things like car repairs and appliance installations.

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats complain the budget is being voted on too quickly after details were finalized in secret.

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Both the House and the Senate must vote twice in favor of the compromise, before it goes to the governor.

The temporary budget now in place expires on Friday, so lawmakers must approve a final spending plan then.

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