RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Republicans in the legislature are at a stalemate regarding the state budget and whether to include new gambling options in the state’s spending plan. 

As the budget appears to be approaching the finish line, N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore (R) said Tuesday that the one thing holding up the budget is gaming. Republicans have been discussing legalizing four more casinos and video lottery terminals statewide. 

But, Senate leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) is accusing House leaders of breaking their commitments on including the proposal in the budget. 

House Republicans held a caucus meeting Monday evening. Moore confirmed that 42 of his party’s members support including gaming in the budget, which is a majority.  

But, with 30 Republican members opposed, Moore said the plan still doesn’t have enough support to be included. He doesn’t think there are enough Democrats who would vote for the budget for it to ultimately pass in that scenario. 

In an email CBS 17 obtained last week, Moore told his colleagues the gaming proposal needs 61 Republican members to support including it. 

Speaker Moore said the House is prepared to vote on the budget as it is without gaming in it.  

“At this point, the only way the House can pass a budget is if it does not include gaming in it,” said Moore. “We’re fine moving forward with a budget because everything else has been agreed upon between the two chambers.” 

Senate leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) has been a leading proponent of the plan and said Monday he does not see a path to legalizing additional gaming outside of the budget. He wants the gaming proposal included and accused House leaders of moving the goalposts. 

“I think we need to see whether or not folks are willing to let the budget fail. The House leadership had a commitment to the Senate that the budget would go forward under certain circumstances,” said Sen. Berger “It is their responsibility to honor the agreement that we had and that is put it in, put it on the floor and we’ll vote it.”  

Berger met Monday afternoon with members of the House Freedom Caucus, some of whom came away from that meeting frustrated by what they heard. 

Rep. Keith Kidwell (R-Beaufort), leader of the House Freedom Caucus, told CBS 17 in an interview on Tuesday, “I think the language used was that if we did not have casinos in the budget, there would not be a budget. And, that we would likely come back and rework, start from scratch, and that would mean that all the projects would have to be looked at. And, that was taken by the members of the caucus to mean that the local projects would not be included in a future budget if it had to be reworked.”  

Rep. Kidwell added he believes Republicans are “at a stalemate” at this point. 

“I don’t think anybody should ever feel that they have the authority to force somebody to change their vote whether it’s by carrot or by whip. We should be able to vote the way we wish to vote,” said Kidwell. “He’d have a better chance to take that out, run it as a standalone (bill). Personally, I think it passes. I think there’s probably eight to 10 people who would change back to a yes vote.” 

Since there was no budget approved by July 1, spending in the state must remain the same as the prior state budget passed in 2021 until a new one is agreed on. 

While discussions to resolve issues in the budget have continued beyond the start of the fiscal year, state employees have been holding out hope for raises. According to health officials, no resolution on the budget has also pushed the start date for Medicaid expansion until at least the end of the year. 

N.C. Governor Roy Cooper (D) urged Republicans to move the process along once schools reopened to get the raises for teachers and school employees out of limbo. 

“Come in and work nights and weekends if necessary, but get a budget done by the end of this month,” said Cooper.