The budget passed the second of three votes Thursday night in the House of Representatives, 80-35. Pending the third vote, the bill would be sent to McCrory as the clock ticks toward a midnight Friday deadline.
McCrory on Thursday told the Associated Press and WRAL he will sign the budget — just days after he expressed reservations to the AP about changes to sales tax and other portions of the appropriations bill.
The 429-page budget — and supplementary 207-page money report — passed the Senate on Wednesday, 37-13, less than 24 hours after the budget’s details were finalized. Three Democratic state senators voted for the budget along with all the Republican senators.
A number of senators were upset at having so little time to review the final document before being forced to vote, especially when late changes directly impact their districts.
Sen. Floyd McKissick, D-Durham, was the only Democrat who spoke during the brief floor debate before the final vote.
He spoke against the limits on light-rail spending in the budget, which will likely derail a plan to build a train line from Raleigh to Durham — as well as the lack of opportunity to amend the budget once he saw that provision.
“It’s going to tie our hands when it comes to the important issues here in this Triangle area,” he said on the floor of the General Assembly.
“The problem is, it’s too late to make a change that will determine the color of this bill, because it can’t be tweaked.”
The state House of Representatives had more time to review the budget proposal, thanks to an imposed 72-hour waiting period before it could vote. A motion to waive that wait period failed Tuesday.
Wednesday night, a group of 21 House Republicans — including 10 who earlier opposed the budget — wrote a letter supporting the plan.
“While there may never be a budget document that will be considered perfect in the eyes of 170 different members, we feel that the final budget outcome is a major step in the right direction for North Carolina,” stated the letter, which was published on Onslow Rep. Chris Millis’ official webpage.
The only other Republican who opposed the budget, Gastonia Rep. Dana Bumgardner, was not listed on the letter and was absent from the vote because of a trip to Germany scheduled well before the budget delay.
The $21.7 billion budget, which funds the government for the next two years, was originally due July 1. The legislature passed three continuing resolutions to keep the government operating while the budget was hammered out.