In fiscal year 2014-15 Natural and Economic Resources spending within the General Fund increased by 9.7 percent, or $36 million.  That increase was mainly found in the Commerce Department’s budget, which had the largest increase within the Natural and Economic Resources budget category — 67.5 percent, or $34.6 million, over last year.

This increase was composed of $10 million set aside for film incentive grants, $20 million to be used for a job catalyst fund targeting the manufacturing industry, and $1.3 million to expand the Rural Economic Development Division’s grant programs.

Some other items within the Commerce Department’s budget are:

  • A total of $7.5 million is available for payments to Bridgestone, Goodyear, and Domtar for the 2013 grant year.
  • $5 million for the Industrial Commission
  • Eliminates funding for the Industrial Commission’s Investigation Management System, which was intended to process, prioritize, and track investigations by the Insurance Compliance Program.  The Commission is working with the Office of Information Technology Services to evaluate future system needs.
  • Spends $250,000 for contractual services to merge two information technology platforms (AccessNC and D4).  AccessNC inventories available business sites statewide and provides economic data to the public.  D4 publishes labor market data.
  • $200,000 is spent on a challenge grant for a study of the future use of Broughton Hospital facilities
  • Spending $250,000 to provide six months of funding to allow for the continuation of the NC Broadband program from January 1, 2015 through June 30th, due to federal funding ending on December 31, 2014.
  • Budgets $300,000 in nonrecurring receipts for the Apprenticeship Program from the Community Colleges System Office to offset forgone revenue for waived apprentice fees in FY 2014-15.  The Department of Commerce will evaluate the fee waivers effect on increasing participation in the program before requesting a permanent fee change.
  • Eliminated funding to ‘Ag in the Classroom’ program due to inability to spend funds
  • Appropriates $100,648 to fund three additional museums: Marbles in Raleigh, HandsOn! in Hendersonville, and Cowan in Kenansville.  Also eliminates funding to the Health Adventure museum in Asheville due to closure.
  • Provides $250,000 in funding to the Earl Scruggs Center to support activities related to the history and cultural traditions of Cleveland County