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Everyone is talking about the $22 billion+ House Budget and what will happen to the spending plan now that it has crossed chambers and is in the hands of the Senate.  Senate leaders will be meeting all this week to start their preparations before it is debated in sub-committees.  We should expect a Senate budget in the next few weeks.  While we aren’t sure exactly what will be included in the Senate budget, we can be sure it will look significantly different than the House version in a few areas.

If you haven’t been following the debate about the House budget, here is a list of highlights.  This isn’t an inclusive list, so if you want to read through the budget for a specific spending item, click here.

While normally I would start with the core areas of state government, those were not the focus of the House’s budget debates.  I will instead start with the areas that garnered the most attention and end with the major areas of state government.

Economic Development:

  • Historic Preservation Tax Credit — Brings back the program to give $8 million worth of targeted state tax credits in addition to federal tax credits for the preservation of historic buildings.
  • Film — Sets aside $40 million each year for motion pictures, television shows, and commercials.
  • Tourism Advertising — Increases funding by $3 million for advertising for the tourism industry in North Carolina.
  • Business Development Grants — Appropriates more than $20 million for the Rural Economic Development Division Grant and the Main Street Solutions Fund.
  • Job Maintenance and Capital Development Fund — Sets aside $8.5 million to give to businesses through the fund.
  • One NC Small Business Fund — Provides $5 million in nonrecurring funds in each year of the biennium to offer early-stage technology development grants for small businesses that receive federal awards from the Small Business Innovative Research program or Small Business Technology Transfer program.

Salary & Benefits:

  • Salary Increase for Teachers and State Employees — Spends a total of $734 million, with $169 million allotted to teacher pay raises.
  • Across the Board Teacher Raises — Increases the starting teacher salary to $35k per year and gives an average 4% pay increase for all teachers.
  • State Employees — Provides for a 2% increase for most state employees. Higher education was granted flexibility in awarding raises.
  • Correctional Officers — Increases salaries for correctional officers in prisons.
  • State Highway Patrol & Forensic Scientists — Allows market-based pay adjustments.
  • Cost of Living Adjustment for Retirees — Provides for a 2% increase for all state retirees.

Rainy Day Funds:

  • Savings Reserve — Adds $200 million in the first year, zero in the second.
  • Repairs and Renovations Reserve — Provides an additional $200 million in the first year, zero in the second.
  • State Emergency Response — Allocates $20 million in the first year for emergencies and natural disasters, zero in the second.

 K-12 Education:  

  • Teacher Assistant Program — Provides an additional $88.8 million annually in recurring funds.
  • Textbook Funding — Directs $91.8 million to textbooks and digital resources in classrooms.
  • Teacher Recruitment and Retention — Creates a new teacher loan scholarship program to recruit teachers for hard-to-staff schools or subjects.
  • Opportunity Scholarships — Spends an additional $6.8 million to give scholarships for eligible students to attend nonpublic schools.

Community Colleges:

  • Tuition — increases tuition from from $72 to $76 for residents and $264 to $268 for nonresidents beginning in second year of the biennium.
  • Veterans’ Tuition — gives in-state tuition to eligible non-resident veterans.

UNC System:

  • Veterans’ Tuition — gives in-state tuition to eligible non-resident veterans.
  • East Carolina University’s Medical School — spends an additional $8 million per year to ensure the school keeps accreditation. 

General Government:

  • Department of Military and Veterans Affairs — Spends $15.2 million to create a new cabinet level department. 
  • Queen Anne’s Revenge — Spends $1.5 million so excavation of the historic pirate ship can continue.
  • Workforce Housing Loan Program — Provides $58 million to aid developers who construct or rehabilitate low-income housing projects that have already received the federal housing credit. 

Justice & Public Safety:

  • Cameras — Appropriates $5 million over two years for body-worn video cameras for law enforcement officers and $8.2 million for dashboard cameras in every Highway Patrol vehicle.
  • Mental Health Needs in the State Prison System — Spends nearly $9 million for additional mental health unit beds at Central Prison and mental health behavior treatment units.

Health & Human Services:

  • Medicaid — Provides $747 million in funds to cover increasing Medicaid enrollment and growth.
  • Mental Health — Spends an additional $43.8 million for community mental health programs.
  • Grant Programs — spends $23.3 million on targeted programs for specific local health departments and non-profits.

Agriculture and Natural Resources:

  • Spay and Neuter Program — Increases annual funding to the program by $250,000.
  • Oysters — Provides new funding for 3 oyster initiatives — clutch planting, oyster sanctuaries, and oyster research — to develop NC oyster brood stock to provide seed for aquaculture.
  • Dredging — Increases funding for the Shallow Draft Dredging Fund by $1 million, focuses relief for the Oregon Inlet.


  • Resurfacing — Allocates an additional $163 million over the two years for resurfacing of 2,191 lane miles.
  • Ports — Provides $40.8 million over the biennium to modernize the Ports of Wilmington and Morehead City through improvements to road, rail, and navigation channel connections.
  • Ferries and Rural Transportation — Spends $2.1 million for the Hatteras Alternative Route, and $3 million for the Statewide Rural Capital Grant Program.

This is just a highlight of what the House’s budget included. If you want to see what JLF would like to see in the budget, click here for our Alternative Budget.

Click here for the Fiscal Update archive.

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