Budget

North Carolina Legislature passes a tax reform bill.
W Edward Callis III

Lawmakers in the state House and Senate are busy negotiating over a budget.

It's July 19th and state legislators know the clock is ticking. They're traditionally expected to come out with a budget for North Carolina by July first, when the new fiscal year starts.

North Carolina Legislature passes a tax reform bill.
W Edward Callis III

This week the General Assembly passed a tax reform bill that sets the stage for the state’s budget. The bill, while sweeping, wasn’t as broad as GOP lawmakers originally wanted. A budget agreement is expected to be reached today with details emerging over the weekend.

Students in a Guilford County classroom.
Guilford County Schools

Lawmakers in Raleigh may end tenure for public school teachers. That’s if a provision in the proposed Senate budget remains in the final budget under negotiation.

Tenure for public school teachers isn’t the same as tenure for college professors. For one, it’s much easier to fire public school teachers with tenure or, as it’s described in the education world, to “counsel them out of teaching.”

NC Legislative building
NC General Assembly

State lawmakers say they're nearing consensus on tax reform. Speaker of the House Thom Tillis says the House and the Senate are close to an agreement.

Potential tax code changes could change the level of funding state budget writers would be able to spend. But there's not much time left before the fiscal year ends for lawmakers to agree on a state budget plan.

Tillis says legislators plan to take that up very soon.

NC General Assembly, Senator Rucho
NC General Assembly

The co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee has resigned from that group to protest changes to his legislative body's tax reform plan.

Senator Bob Rucho submitted his resignation letter to Senate President Phil Berger earlier this week. Rucho was the main architect of a Senate tax reform proposal that would have expanded the sales tax while lowering personal and corporate income tax rates.

But Berger put forth an alternate plan that would repeal corporate taxes without expanding the sales tax base as extensively. Rucho says he was disappointed by the move.

NC House
Jessica Jones

State lawmakers in the House have begun to debate their budget proposal.  Republican representative Nelson Dollar told his fellow lawmakers the budget plan is a good one.

"We are pleased to have a new governor here in Raleigh. We think that the spirit of reform has come to our state capitol. We believe our budget has caught the winds of reform and is moving us forward," said Dollar.

Durham City Hall
City of Durham

County commissioners and city council members across the state turn their attention to their local budgets this week. 

Many local governments are avoiding increases on property taxes as they craft their budgets for the next fiscal year.  But they're also expecting less direct funding from the state and increasing some fees for services like solid waste or animal control. 

The Elizabeth II historical ship is a main attraction at Roanoke Island Festival Park.
NC Department of Cultural Resources

The history-themed Roanoke Island Festival Park on the Outer Banks may have an uncertain future. Two years ago, lawmakers passed a bill that stipulated the park be self-supporting by 2015. The bill called for systematic reductions in state funding to the site over the next 4 years. That gradual implementation was overlooked in the budget proposal Governor Pat McCrory submitted this year - and instead slashed all funding. So far this session, the general assembly shows no signs of reinstating it.

State Senate chamber
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Lawmakers in the State Senate have presented a $20.6 billion budget proposal. It would spend slightly less than Governor McCrory’s plan and offers no raises for state employees.  The plan would also increase state Medicaid spending by about $300 million and make big changes to the State Bureau of Investigation.
 
Republican budget writer Senator Pete Brunstetter told reporters earlier today that he knows this is a tough budget plan. He says its purpose is to make sure the state lives within its means.

McCrory gives weekly GOP address
www.governor.state.nc.us

Gov. Pat McCrory gave a national audience a glimpse into reforms he wants to implement in North Carolina.  He delivered this past weekend's GOP response to President Obama's weekly address. 

McCrory criticized what he called Washington's "weak leadership" and urged national lawmakers to give more flexibility and accountability to states.  He says he needs that kind of freedom to implement a different approach to Medicaid reform.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory introduced his first budget proposal this week and within the measure calls on state legislators to restore seven million of dollars in funding for drug courts. The funding for drug courts was cut two years ago and resources for treatment were slashed last year. Drug courts are designed to help repeat offenders of drug laws get treatment instead of going to jail.

Gov. Pat McCrory
NC Governor's Office

This week's budget proposal from Gov. Pat McCrory includes tweaks to funding for economic development programs. 

The governor unveiled his spending plan Wednesday.  It would add money to a new economic branding strategy as well as a program that supports main streets in small communities.  But it cuts funds for two non-profits and a foundation that provide grants meant to support job growth.

Gov. Pat McCrory
Governor's Office

As he unveiled his proposed $20.6 billion dollar budget yesterday, the banner behind Governor Pat McCrory trumpeted the three initiatives he wanted to emphasize. It read: “Economy. Education. Efficiency.” In reality, though, education should have been number one, because it’s by far the largest expenditure and the area where the biggest fights are likely.

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

Governor Pat McCrory released his budget proposal earlier today. It’s a $20.6 billion plan that emphasizes spending on education and economic development and sets aside money for emergencies. It doesn’t seek to create any new high-priced programs.

Earlier today, Governor McCrory told reporters in a news conference at the historic old State Capitol that North Carolina needs to fix its broken government.

The White House

White House officials are warning each state that spending cuts due to take effect this Friday will have a significant impact.  Military personnel in North Carolina are bracing for the worst.  Army leaders face more than $136 million in base operations cuts.  Jason Furman is a deputy director of the President's National Economic Council.  He says it's uncertain how those cuts will play out.


"It is pretty much a department-by-department thing," Furman says.

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