RALEIGH -- One of the stranger aspects of the messy state budget-making process is that state leaders, as much as they might like to, can’t really cut to the chase.
At some point in that process, the general shape of the end-product becomes fairly apparent to astute observers.
This year, that end-product will likely include $400 million to $600 million more than the $19 billion budget plan crafted by House Republicans. Most of the additional money will go to public schools and universities.
The money probably won’t come from extending a penny sales tax hike scheduled to expire on July 1. It probably will come from holding off on state building repairs, tapping the state's reserve savings account, and grabbing money that House Republicans had designated for the state's pension fund.