House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger today released a joint statement announcing that the two chambers have come to an agreement on the total amount of spending to be included in their budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

That amount is $25.72 billion.

In a joint announcement Tuesday morning, Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore said that general-fund spending for the upcoming fiscal year would be increased by 3.45%, followed by a 3.65% increase the following year.

The details will need to be worked out, but an agreement on the topline dollar amount is a good sign that progress is being made on the budget.  This year is the Senate’s turn to introduce their budget plan first, which would then be sent to the House for their revisions. The next step would be a conference committee, consisting of representatives from both chambers, to work out the difference.

The $25.72 billion figure is appreciably smaller than the $26.6 billion Gov. Cooper included in his budget proposal earlier this spring.

With few details yet revealed, we can still nevertheless be encouraged by what we do know:

  • With the 3.65% year over year spending increase, the proposed spending would fall under the growth rate of inflation plus population growth – a spending restraint measure commonly used in a Taxpayer Bill of Rights
  • It includes $4.2 billion in capital infrastructure spending on a pay as you go basis, much better than issuing more debt
  • Tax cuts are to be included
  • The budget will further replenish the state’s Rainy Day Fund, better preparing the state for natural disasters and the next economic recession
  • Medicaid expansion is not included
  • Fiscal Research is estimating revenue to be $27.4 billion next year, so this budget plans for plenty of unspent reserves to further shore up the state’s fiscal condition