RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The state Senate rejected on Tuesday the House's version of its two-year North Carolina government budget, kicking off formal talks between the two chambers on forming a final spending plan.
The House gave its final approval to a budget bill last week. The Senate passed its version in late June. The current fiscal year began July 1.
Tuesday's vote means House and Senate Republican leaders will now name negotiators to work out differences on a host of spending and policy differences. Any deal likely will take weeks to hammer out.
Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper also wants to participate in negotiations in hopes of being able to sign a bill that he can accept. He's been critical of corporate income tax cuts in the competing versions of the budget, and wants more money for public education and child care.
Cooper hasn't signed a conventional omnibus budget bill since he took office in 2017. A stalemate between Cooper and GOP lawmakers in 2019 never got resolved following a Cooper veto.
Both legislative plans contain competing policy provisions that will have to be disentangled. Some would weaken or roll back powers of Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein. Others place more oversight over K-12 school curriculum.