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Senate President Pro Marc Basnight says the Senate will pass a budget by next weekend, but that will require Senators to actually see the plan. When they do, it will be the first time.

Press accounts of Basnight’s budget news reported that Senate Democrats were working on their own version of the budget before Governor Beverly Perdue presented her spending plan almost three weeks ago. They will unveil pieces of it as soon as Monday.

With the exception of a few meetings of subcommittees to hear broad overviews from state agencies and a couple more to go over parts of Perdue’s budget, there have been no public Senate budget meetings. No meetings to allow the media and the public to hear any actual debate or discussion about how to spend $21 billion of our money.

The Senate budget process is not a process at all. It’s budget by decree.

People driving by the legislative building know as much about what’s in the Senate budget as most of the Senators who will be asked to vote on it next week.

It’s hard to know what’s worse, that the Senate has abandoned all pretenses of an open budget process or that nobody, including the media that are locked out of the budget room, seems to care.

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