Gov. John Lynch is ringing the warning bell over the extent of tax increases and spending contained in a two-year, $10.4 billion state budget facing a showdown vote in the House of Representatives next week.
The proposed House Finance Committee budget would increase state tax and fee spending by $178 million over what Lynch proposed Feb. 15, according to its chairman, Durham Democratic Rep. Marjorie Smith.
It also raised cigarette taxes higher than Lynch asked for and would raise the tax on real estate transactions to support a popular land and building preservation effort.
“I think as this budget gets into the Senate, I believe they are going to take a serious look at the add-ons that are coming out of the House,” Lynch said Friday during an editorial board meeting at The Telegraph.
Meanwhile, Lynch said he’s open to accepting changes if they are needed to “clarify the intent” of his proposed amendment to the state Constitution over education funding.
Former Supreme Court Justice Chuck Douglas urged lawmakers this week to add to Lynch’s amendment that lawmakers have “broad latitude” in deciding how education aid is given out.
“I am open to a word or two that would clarify the intent of the amendment going forward, and that certainly could happen,” Lynch began, adding Douglas was correct the Supreme Court used those words in previous decisions.
The state Senate will take up his controversial amendment next week.
Republican critics predict he’ll get the 15 votes or 60 percent super-majority needed to pass the amendment in the upper chamber.
His task in the House, if it gets that far, will be tougher.
Lynch said court decisions don’t allow the state to funnel extra education aid to needy communities within the …