N.C. House budget writers’ decision to mirror the Senate’s overall goal of $22.9 billion in General Fund spending next year should pave the way for relatively quick agreement between the House and Senate on budget details. Both the House and Senate would spend substantially less than Gov. Roy Cooper proposed for 2017-18.

The John Locke Foundation budget team offers that reaction to the current House budget plan. The House’s budget-writing Appropriations Committee is reviewing that document today, with full House votes expected this week.

“The House and Senate essentially agree that General Fund spending should go up by 2.5 percent from the current adopted budget, well below the 5.1 percent growth the governor recommends,” said JLF Senior Vice President Becki Gray. “That level of spending increase also falls well below the 3.8 percent combined rate of inflation and population growth. The House and Senate offer similar worthwhile proposals for building North Carolina’s rainy-day reserves. House budget writers are to be commended for their restraint.”

There’s room to improve on the House’s spending target for 2018-19, the second year of the two-year budget, Gray said. “The House would spend $334 million more than the Senate that year, and just $70 million less than Gov. Cooper,” she explained. “Since revenue projections are even more difficult to make two years out than for next year, it would be wise to approach second-year spending increases with caution.”

Learn more about the JLF review of the House budget here.