Paul Fogleman,

Five days from today we will be with legislators at the opening of the short session of the General Assembly. A lot of conversation is about HB2 and if changes or outright repeal will take place. But the real importance to citizens lies with adoption of a tweaked budget. The framework of the even-year budget should be that adopted in the first year of the session (last year). But higher than expected revenues from new taxes and fees will prompt lawmakers to make some significant changes. Those changes might include a five percent pay increase for public school teachers as proposed by Gov. McCrory. Redistribution of sales tax revenue, as pushed by Sen. Harry Brown of Onslow County, again is expected to divide the legislators.

Most observers expected the session to go no more than nine weeks. The Republican National Convention opens in Cleveland in mid July and lawmakers will be among the delegates attending. Also the goal is to have a budget adopted by the start of the fiscal year July 1. The unusual number of legislators running for the new 13th District congressional seat will ties up nine members.

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