RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) said Monday there’s no chance of the legislature enacting a budget this month, putting into question the timing of North Carolina expanding Medicaid coverage. 

Republicans continue to meet this week to try to resolve differences they have with each other on the budget. While they’ve already agreed on a plan to cut taxes and what to pay state employees, Moore said there are still “maybe 70” items to resolve, including expanding legalized gaming. 

“We’ve already talked through the schedule on that. Just with some absences that I know the Senate has on their side and some of the logistics that have been talked about. At this point, you’re talking about a September date for passage, signing into law and all of that,” said Speaker Moore. 

State health officials recently said they’re moving forward now with taking steps to be prepared to implement Medicaid expansion, which will provide coverage to about 600,000 low-income people. 

When Republicans approved expansion earlier this year, they made that contingent on the state budget passing. 

Health and Human Services Sec. Kody Kinsley told lawmakers that in order for coverage to begin on Oct. 1, the legislature either needs to enact a budget by Sept. 1 or allow Medicaid expansion to go into effect now while they continue to negotiate other aspects of the budget. 

“They’ve continued to walk off the job and stay on vacation like they’re in Europe or something,” said Gov. Roy Cooper (D). “They need to get back to Raleigh, pass this budget.” 

Moore said he thinks the state could still move forward with Medicaid expansion in October even if the budget is not enacted until after Labor Day. However, health officials have said any further delay could push the start date to Dec. 1 or early 2024. 

“We have, as a General Assembly, have taken a stand in support of a responsible form of expansion that I think makes sense and that we would like to see that become law. But, the idea of decoupling that from the budget just doesn’t work because it has such a significant impact on the budget,” said Moore. 

Republicans have not revealed details of the aspects of the budget they’ve already resolved, including what pay raises teachers and state employees will receive. 

Atty. Gen. Josh Stein (D), who is running for governor, said Monday the impasse is affecting his agency’s ability to create a Fentanyl Control Unit.  

Stein explained he’s seeking to hire four prosecutors to help local law enforcement with drug trafficking investigations. 

“They’re very time-consuming because they’re multi-layered. You have to go up the chain to go after the drug kingpin. But, you can break apart these drug trafficking networks and communities will be safer,” he said. “The state has to act, give us a budget so we can hire people to serve the people of North Carolina: to keep them safe, to educate them, to help them be healthier.” 

Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell), speaking with reporters Monday, said he couldn’t confirm whether Stein’s request had been included in the final budget. 

“We feel all kinds of pressure to get this resolved. Not ready to comment on any final decisions or others, but to find a head of agency asking for additional funding is not an unusual concept that the legislature deals with,” he said. 

The Office of State Budget and Management also announced Monday that North Carolina ended the fiscal year with about $3 billion more revenue than anticipated. Revenues for the fiscal year that ended June 30 totaled about $33.5 billion.  

OSBM also noted that state agencies “reverted $1.17 billion in unspent budgeted funds,” which is more than usual. That was driven in part by the job vacancy rate in state government climbing above 20 percent as well as other factors, OSBM noted.