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Budget extension beats midnight deadline

Raleigh, N.C. — State lawmakers now have another 45 days to pass a budget for 2015-16.

By a 43-0 vote and with little debate Tuesday morning, the Senate approved a continuing resolution that House members voted for late Monday.

Gov. Pat McCrory was able to sign the CR into law well before the budget deadline at 11:59 p.m.

The measure continues current funding levels at 100 percent, and adds about $100 million for enrollment growth in schools.

But Sen. Gladys Robinson, D-Guilford, said possible "adjustments" in school funding mentioned in the measure will leave local school officials uncertain about hiring teachers or teacher assistants until the final spending plan is in place.

"The school systems still don’t understand or don’t know what their real allocation is," Robinson said. "They are really just taking a chance right now."

The new budget deadline will be Aug. 14, and Robinson. asked Senate Republicans to make sure that deadline is firm.

"We started in January expecting this to be done by June 30. That’s our responsibility," she said. "You committed to us that we would do this on budget and on time. Now is the time."

Given that both chambers have agreed to take the first week of July off, the deadline extension gives House and Senate leaders about five weeks to work through their differences on spending, Medicaid reform and major tax changes.