- Associated Press - Friday, September 18, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The latest on the North Carolina state budget compromise: (all times local)

12:10 a.m.

The North Carolina General Assembly has given its final formal support to a spending plan negotiated by Republicans to run government through June 2017, and that will soon become law.

The spending proposal cleared both chambers when the House voted a second time on the measure in less than three hours early Friday morning. The Senate held two affirmative votes for the budget bill earlier in the week.

The measure now will head to Gov. Pat McCrory, who said Thursday he would sign the bill into law before a temporary spending measure that directed government spending without a final budget in place expires late Friday night.

The final House vote of 81-33 was similar to the margin of the initial House vote Thursday night.

9:55 p.m.

The North Carolina House has given its tentative approval to the two-year state budget that Republican lawmakers took all summer to negotiate. Only one more vote is needed before the measure goes to Gov. Pat McCrory, who already said he’ll sign it.

The House voted 80-35 after four hours of debate Thursday night. The Senate signed off on the plan Wednesday.

A second and final House vote was expected to occur just after midnight.

House Republicans on Thursday highlighted increased spending for public education and $600 million for reserves and government building repairs in urging colleagues to vote for the plan. But several Democrats said the budget fell short on teacher and state employee pay and expanding the sales tax for repairs and installations.

5:35 p.m.

The North Carolina House has started debating the final budget bill that’s already won approval from the Senate and that Gov. Pat McCrory has promised to sign.

The House convened late Thursday afternoon for the first of two required votes because parliamentary and constitutional requirements demand a second vote no earlier than after midnight.

Broad support already from GOP House members in the majority all but secure the bill’s final passage, and McCrory’s announcement Thursday morning that he’ll sign the two-year spending plan means less attention to the final margin.

Many Democrats still want floor time to publicly criticize a budget it believes gives tax cuts to the rich and fails to spend enough on the public schools. Republicans want to highlight funding for teacher assistants, driver’s education and rainy-day reserves.

11:35 a.m.

Gov. Pat McCrory says he’ll sign the two-year budget once North Carolina legislators give it to him because all the things he sought inside it outweigh the items he dislikes.

McCrory also said in an interview Thursday there is no way he would threaten shutting down normal government operations through a budget veto because of some disagreements involving a budget that spends well over $21 billion this fiscal year. A temporary spending measure expires Friday night. The budget is 11 weeks late.

The governor says he still doesn’t like how legislators’ spending plan expands the sales tax to cover more services, then distributes proceeds disproportionately to small and rural counties. But he says it’s better than an earlier plan in which urban and destination counties would have lost tax revenue.

10:15 a.m.

Gov. Pat McCrory says he’ll sign the North Carolina state budget bill negotiated by fellow Republicans at the legislature this summer when it reaches his desk.

McCrory told reporters of his decision Thursday morning.

His announcement comes hours before the House was expected to debate and hold the first of two required votes on the compromise agreement with the Senate. Senators held their affirmative votes Tuesday and Wednesday.

McCrory told the AP last weekend he had concerns about provisions that would expand the number of transactions subject to the sales tax. Local tax proceeds largely would be distributed to assist small and rural counties.

4 a.m.

It’s now the House’s turn to decide on the two-year North Carolina state budget drawn up by Republican negotiators over the past several weeks.

The House scheduled a vote late Thursday on the plan that spends nearly $22 billion annually through mid-2017. An affirmative vote then would lead to a second and final vote early Friday morning.

The Senate already voted for the budget Tuesday and Wednesday. Three Democrats joined all Republicans in supporting the measure on the final Senate vote. House Speaker Tim Moore said this week he also expected bipartisan support.

The measure should be in Gov. Pat McCrory’s hands by Friday morning. He’ll be asked to sign the bill into law.

McCrory doesn’t have much time to decide before a temporary spending measure expires Friday night.

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