The Latest: Lower Medicaid projections helps cover pay plan


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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on Gov. Pat McCrory's administration presenting details of its proposed $22.3 billion budget for the coming fiscal year (all times local):

10:30 a.m.

North Carolina's improved Medicaid financial picture is one big reason why Gov. Pat McCrory can offer significant pay raises and bonuses and avoid significant budget cuts.

State budget director Drew Heath gave House and Senate budget writers Wednesday more details of McCrory's $22.3 billion plan. He's making adjustments to the second year of the two-year state budget approved last fall.

The budget lowers projected Medicaid spending growth by $318 million. That's because Heath says Medicaid enrollment and use of services are coming in lower than anticipated. That and higher than anticipated tax collections in part are allowing McCrory to offer average 5 percent increases for state teachers. Teachers and rank-and-file state workers are getting bonuses.

Several legislators questioned Heath why the governor doesn't offer across-the-board raises for state employees. McCrory prefers to give targeted worker raises to those in hard-to-staff fields.

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5:45 a.m.

Gov. Pat McCrory's spending plan for the coming year will get scrutiny from legislators charged with assembling North Carolina's budget.

The House and Senate appropriations committee members planned to meet together Wednesday for a presentation on McCrory's proposed adjustments to the second year of the two-year budget approved last September.

McCrory laid out some highlights of his $22 billion plan late last week but he didn't provide all the details, preferring to wait until the committees met.

The House will draw up and approve changes first. Speaker Tim Moore says his chamber wants to send its version to the Senate by May 20. The Senate then will create its own plan. The two sides will negotiate a final compromise they'll ask McCrory to sign.

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