Sept. 4, 2015
Budget leaders to labor over holiday weekend
With two weeks left until the expiration of the latest continuing resolution, budget leaders in the House and Senate continued working this week and will remain in Raleigh over the long weekend to negotiate a compromise biennial budget. While the two chambers agreed to a spending target of $21.74 billion two weeks ago, they are still working out the details including education and health and human services funding. On Monday, the Senate offered a plan that would continue last year’s driver’s education and teacher assistant funding, but would eliminate local flexibility to direct TA money to other needs like supplies and teachers. The House has traditionally supported this flexibility. House leadership has not indicated if they will accept this plan.
Late this week budget leaders floated a proposal to increase dredging funds and build more terminal groin erosion control structures. Included in this proposal would be a set-aside from the gas tax for dredging and inlet maintenance that would raise about $11 million. This would align with NCACC General Government Goal 3 to support new or expanded state funding streams for infrastructure, including inlet management. In addition to the budget, the House and Senate are still working out differences on a finance package, Medicaid reform and a bond proposal, all of which will likely extend the session beyond the conclusion of the budget negotiations.