Budget

photo of Congress
Lawrence Jackson, whitehouse.gov.

Lawmakers returned to Capitol Hill last week for a short session before the November election. Their priorities include passing a spending bill to avert another government shutdown and coming up with a funding plan to fight the Zika virus. The pressure is on to adjourn the session quickly to allow embattled incumbents, like North Carolina’s Sen. Richard Burr, time to campaign in their home states.
 

Wake County School Bus
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Wake County school board members are considering where they can make cuts in order to fill a $17.5 million budget gap. A proposed plan would increase class sizes, freeze teachers' local salary supplements and cut back on custodial services.

House lawmakers propose small increases in teacher pay based on years of experience.
www.audio-luci-store.it / Flickr

In their budget compromise, lawmakers have allocated millions of dollars to give certain teachers bonuses for how well their students perform. Top third-grade reading teachers would earn thousands of dollars extra, and Advanced Placement teachers would receive $50 for each of their students who passes an AP or other advanced test.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

Early voting is underway in North Carolina's second primary of the year. Two incumbent members of Congress face off against each other. Also on the ballot is a seat on the state's Supreme Court.

At the legislature, the Senate wraps up its budget proposal and lawmakers move behind closed doors to hash out a compromise between the House and Senate plans.

Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the latest.

Flickr/Washington State House

 

Governor Pat McCrory announced his $22.3 billion proposed budget plan this morning, which represents a 2.8 percent increase in total state spending. He shared key provisions of his proposal, like an average 5 percent pay increase for teachers, but he will not release his full, detailed budget proposal until next week.
 

An image of the NC Museum of Natural Science
Public Domain

The State of Things is broadcasting live Friday at 12 p.m. from the Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh. You can stream the show live below:

NC General Assembly; State Legislature.
Dave Crosby / Flickr Share-Alike

The North Carolina legislature gave final approval to a $21.7 billion budget early Friday morning. The vote ended a stalemate that pushed budget negotiations three months past their original deadline. The final deal maintains funding for teacher assistants, cuts the income tax rate to 5.5 percent and expands the sales tax. 

NC State House
NCGA

Following 11 weeks of waiting, dozens of closed-door negotiations and an undetermined number of offers, proposals, phone calls, arguments, lobbyist exchanges and dinner deliveries - we have a budget deal.

"This budget is a net tax cut," proclaimed House Rules Chair David Lewis (R-Harnett) on the floor Thursday night.

"We know this is a good budget, there is a lot of stuff in this budget we like."

An artist's rendering of a light rail stop.
GoTriangle / Triangle Transit

A provision in the legislature's new budget proposal would limit state spending on any light rail project to $500,000 per-year.

That's a far cry from what the North Carolina Department of Transportation recommended contributing to the proposed Durham-Orange Light Rail project. In its State Transportation Improvement Program, NCDOT allotted $138 million for GoTriangle's light rail project.

Reema Khrais

This summer, North Carolina senators pushed a plan to cut thousands of teacher assistants. Educators from across the state rallied against the idea, and in the budget compromise unveiled this week, lawmakers decided to keep funding for teacher assistants.

But there’s a catch, and it’s one that many educators say is problematic.

Under the budget deal, schools would be required to use money for teacher assistants for only that. Nothing else.

Taxes
www.irs.com

Politicos across the state are sifting through the 429-page budget bill - as well as the generally easier-to-follow 207-page money report - after its release late Monday night. The spending plan for the two fiscal years beginning July 1 is complicated, dense, and spotted with policy changes - including money for Medicaid reform and changes to the tax code, among other provisions.

State Senator Tom Apodaca
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

State lawmakers continue to negotiate a state budget and are touting improvement, but are also asking for additional deliberation time.

Policymakers announced progress on the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon. Senator Harry Brown (R-Onslow) said subcommittees now have target spending amounts, and an agreement on salary adjustments for state workers has been reached in principal.

State Senate chamber
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

North Carolina Senate Republicans are looking to give voters the opportunity to add spending and income tax caps to the state’s constitution.

classroom
Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

Local school officials are struggling to make budget decisions without knowing how much money they will receive from the state.

House and Senate lawmakers passed a temporary spending plan earlier this month to keep the state running until August 14.

For school officials, that's a tight deadline.

NC General Assembly; State Legislature.
Dave Crosby / Flickr Share-Alike

The North Carolina Senate gave preliminary approval on Wednesday afternoon to a two-year budget that would cut funding for thousands of public school teaching assistant positions, and would make significant policy changes to the state's tax code and Medicaid program.

The proposed $21.5 billion budget, which represents an almost 2 percent increase from the current year and was approved by Republicans along a party-line vote of 30-19, is scheduled for a final vote on Thursday.

Jorge Valencia

North Carolina Senate Republicans unveiled a spending plan Monday that sets up a confrontation with Republicans in the House of Representatives over the polarizing Medicaid overhaul both chambers have sought since last year.

N.C. General Assembly, State Legislature
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

State Senate leaders held a news conference Monday to discuss details of their $21.47 billion budget proposal. The proposal is smaller than the state House’s budget plan released almost a month ago, and  would create a separate state agency to administer North Carolina’s Medicaid program.

WUNC Capitol Reporter Jorge Valencia said the Senate has only given a general idea of its budget proposal, and includes increasing the starting salary pay for teachers to $35,000 a year, a $2,000 increase.

Image of June Atkinson, who has been the North Carolina state superintendent since 2005.
North Carolina Democratic Party

June Atkinson has served as the state superintendent for almost a decade.

During her tenure there have been a number of significant changes to the state’s public education system, including the adoption of common core standards, the proliferation of charter schools, and continued debates about where education fits in the state budget.

Governor McCrory's recommended budget
NC Office of State Budget and Management

Government employees across the state are working on budgets this month. Officials in rural towns, big cities and the Capitol are finalizing spending plans for the fiscal year beginning July 1st. But the process, speed and  public involvement required to craft a fiscal blueprint can vary significantly.

A couple of weeks ago, House lawmakers held a marathon floor session where they debated their budget proposal for more than eight hours. Toward the end of the debate, senior Republican budget writer Nelson Dollar rose from his seat to make a final pitch.

NC Legislative building
NC General Assembly

Following delays, divisions and more than eight hours of debate House lawmakers gave approval to a $22 billion state budget early Friday.

The plan increases state spending by more than a billion dollars, though the road to passage was hardly smooth. Deliberations on the measure were delayed by more than a day following criticism of the budget draft from some members and conservative groups.

N.C. General Assembly, State Legislature
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

 

Updated Thursday, May 21, 4:45 p.m.

N.C. House lawmakers have started debating a proposed budget plan that leaders revamped in an effort to win more votes from Republicans. The proposal reduces DMV fee hikes and cuts back on the money to help bring film and TV productions to North Carolina.

Medicaid reform is at the forefront of the state's legislative agenda this session, but legislators are still debating how to design the reform. 

The Senate wants to privatize administration and let commercial insurance companies control the market while the House and Governor McCrory want state health care providers to be in charge. A new report from Wake Forest University argues for a hybrid strategy.

The North Carolina legislative office building
Wikipedia

North Carolina lawmakers have introduced a plan to increase state spending by more than $1 billion.

The budget draft introduced Monday afternoon would grow starting teacher salaries, give state employees a 2% raise and put $120 million toward a film grant program. The $22.2 billion draft budget roughly represents a 5% increase compared to the current state spending plan.

Gov. Pat McCrory
Governor's Office

Governor Pat McCrory is proposing raises for new teachers, tax incentives for corporations and a cut to the University system. On Thursday morning, the governor laid out his budget proposal for the next fiscal year.
 

Governor McCrory detailed his spending blueprint for the fiscal year that begins July 1st. His 298-page, $21.5 billion proposal is just the first step in a long process.

Protesters lined a walk way at UNC-Chapel Hill, before a Board of Governors work group convened.
Jeff Tiberii

Update Friday 5:00 p.m.:

Listen to Frank Stasio's conversation with reporter Jeff Tiberii here. Tiberii has been attending and reporting on the meetings this week.

Update Friday 9:27 a.m.:

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