Several North Carolina lawmakers say changes need to be made to speed up the state's budget process.
While legislators say progress is being made on a budget stalemate, it comes two months too late. The budget, which was supposed to take effect on July 1, is being held up by disagreements on several issues, including education funding and sales tax redistribution.
Educators, including CMS Superintendent Ann Clark, have expressed concerns about how the budget stalemate is affecting classrooms. On the first day of classes, Clark said, “I do have to wonder if teachers thinking about coming to North Carolina, particularly those that work in K-3 grades, are a little reluctant to step into that situation.”
CMS says if lawmakers don’t reach a budget agreement by Friday, teacher assistants in the school system won’t have jobs. And on Tuesday, September 1, there will be no more driver education programs for CMS students.
State Senator Jeff Tarte, a Republican from Mecklenburg County, says he thinks lawmakers will reach an agreement and teacher assistant positions will be saved. But going forward he and other lawmakers want to see changes that won't allow this type of budget holdup to happen again.
Sen. Tarte, said, “No public bill should be allowed to be filed from any member until the budget is filed and begun to work on.”
Representative Rodney Moore, a Democrat from Mecklenburg County, said, “A lot of times the scheduling and the way the budget is, it's kind of old, outdated way of doing business, and so we need to look at some different ways going forward.”
Rep. Moore said he’s considering filing a bill or a study bill that would look at how to make the budget process go faster and more effectively in the future.
Lawmakers have set Sept. 18 as the most recent extension for final passage of the state budget.