by Joseph Coletti
Senior Fellow, Fiscal Studies, John Locke Foundation
One of the most confusing things about the House budget is the State Capital and Infrastructure Fund (SCIF). It makes comparing the House plan with the Governor’s plan or with spending in previous years, a challenge, but here is how the House and Cooper handle capital spending and debt service this year.
In 2017, the General Assembly created the State Capital and Infrastructure Fund (SCIF) to combine all payments for capital, whether debt or current funding. The SCIF receives four percent of General Fund tax revenue plus one-fourth of any unreserved cash balance. As the state relies less on debt, it will need to direct less to principal and interest payments and have more available to pay for capital projects from current funds. Cooper would have repealed the SCIF to redirect more than $250 million to operating appropriations and instead would take out $288 million in limited obligation bonds. In addition to the $721 million for debt service, the House reserves $250 million for repairs and renovations, $218 million for other capital projects, and leaves $13 million in the SCIF for future use. Conspicuously missing from the SCIF line items are debt or spending for a $2 billion public school construction plan.
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