2017 Budget

The Votes

Voting For:

SENATE: Tom Apodaca(R),  Jim Davis(R), Warren Daniel (R), Ralph Hise (R), Dan Soucek (R)

HOUSE: Roger West (R), Michele Presnel (R), John Ager (D), Brian Turner (D), Chuck McGrady (R), Chris Whitmire (R), Mike Hagar (R), Hugh Blackwell (R), Josh Dobson (R), Jonathan Jordan (R)

Voting Against:

SENATE: Terry Van Duyn (D) 

HOUSE: Susan Fisher (D), Joe Sam Queen (D)

Not Voting

none

State lawmakers approved a $22.34 billion General Fund budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year by passing HB 1030: 2016 Appropriations Act. The 2014 fiscal year budget represents a 2.8% increase from the previous year, but below historical averages. The state budget is required by law to be balanced and includes both spending (allocations) as well as special provisions that impact all aspects of state government and programs. 

The budget bill is very complex and contains numerous provisions that legislators must consider before voting. Legislators may not agree with all the provisions of a bill but may still vote for it - or agree with some items, but vote against it.  The WNC Vote Tracker does not track all provisions of the budget bill - instead only focusing on provisions impacting our six categories. Below are highlights under the WNC Vote Tracker's categories of Education, Health & Safety, Environment, Economic Security, and Government & Democracy.

Education

  • $1.325 million increase for NC Pre-K, which provides pre-school services for "at-risk" children. This is expected to provide services to an additional 260 children, for a total number of slots for 29,400 children. This is an increase from last but there are still 5,476 fewer slots available today than there were in 2009.  
  • $1.325 million increase for an additional 260 child care subsidy slots, which help income eligible parents afford safe, quality care for their children. An estimated 20,350 eligible children are on the subsidy waiting list. 
  • $3.45 million to increase the child care subsidy market rate for children ages 3 to 5 in the most economically-distressed counties in the state (Tier 1 and 2 counties). 
  • In the policy section of the budget, lawmakers directed state agencies to develop, implement, and measure progress for a statewide vision for early education and the transition from Pre-K to Kindergarten. 
  • $8.4 billion in General Fund dollars for K-12 public schools. This represents a 1.5 percent increase in spending compared to last year’s budget and a 2.9 percent decrease compared to 2008 pre-recession levels when adjusted for inflation. 
  • The expansion funding includes $46.8 million for projected enrollment growth for the upcoming school year. $2.5 million for instructional supplies - 54 percent below peak 2010 spending when adjusted for inflation.  
  • $4 million in recurring state funding to implement the state’s digital learning plan for public schools. 
  • The budget expands two voucher programs that provide public dollars to students to attend private schools. $34.8 million for the voucher program known as "Opportunity Scholarship Program." An additional $5.8 million in recurring state funding for special education scholarships for eligible K-12 education students.  
  • $3.8 billion for the state’s public four-year universities (UNC System) and its community colleges (CC System) across the state. 
  • A Fixed Tuition Payment plan included in the new budget guarantees that tuition at any public four-year university will remain constant or decrease during eight consecutive academic semesters for degrees designated as four-year programs or 10 consecutive academic semesters for degrees designated as five-year programs for future freshman or transfer undergraduate North Carolina residents.  
  • The budget limits increase in student fees to no more than 3 percent for institutions within the UNC System.  
  • For Elizabeth City State University, UNC Pembroke and Western Carolina, in-state tuition is capped at $500 per academic semester and $2,500 per academic semester for nonresident students beginning with the Fall 2018 academic semester. Includes a provision allowing additional state funding to these schools impacted by the capped tuition plan in 2017 budget, but there is not a guarantee that additional state funding fully offset the lost tuition revenue in years to come.  


Health and Safety 

  • $4 million to create additional slots in community alternatives programs for Alzheimer’s patients and people with developmental disabilities. $2.3 million to increase RN rates for private duty nurses working in community alternatives programs serving children. 
  •  $16 million to local health departments and children’s development services agencies to offset the impact of reduced Medicaid reimbursement rates.  
  • $250,000 for You Quit Two Quit—a smoking prevention and cessation program for pregnant and postpartum women. 
  • $20 million reserve fund to implement the Governor’s Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Use recommendations. 
  • One-time $2 million boost for crisis centers serving children who experienced trauma and/or have behavioral health needs.  
  • $18 million in special funds to expand inpatient behavioral health beds in rural parts of the state.  
  • $1.1 million appropriation for the Children’s Angel Watch Program - a foster care program for children ages 0-6 who are not in the custody of the Department of Social Services and whose families are temporarily unable to care for them because of a crisis. 
  • $250,000 for the Healthy Corner Store Initiative, which helps "corner stores" and convenience stores have the means to carry healthy food options in food deserts and supports the sustainability of small businesses.  


Environment 

  • $3 million for DuPont Recreational Forest for new restroom and parking facilities, and new staff positions.  
  • The budget restores funding and positions for the Natural Heritage Program, which was reduced by $314,726 in 2015.  
  • $22.4 million ($8.6M increase) for the Clean Water Management Trust Fund. That is the single largest appropriation to the CWMTF since 2010. 
  • The Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust is increased by $1 million. 
  • $22.7 million (steady from last budget) for the Parks & Recreation Trust Fund. 

 

Economic Security 

  • $300,000 grant to create jobs for chronically unemployed persons and to fund staff time to focus on business development leadership/tech support for advanced manufacturing. 
  • $20 million (includes a $5 million increase) for the Workforce Housing Loan Program. This program replaces the $50 million Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program that lawmakers eliminated. 
  • $1.4 million ($500,000 increase) to increase apprenticeship opportunities in the NCWorks Apprenticeship Program. 

 

Government and Democracy 

  • $3.5 million to pay for private counsel assigned to at-risk people who can’t afford an attorney. 

 

Women's issues 

  • Lawmakers also provided $100,000 in state aid, on top of $300,000 in federal block grants, to crisis pregnancy centers, which are facilities that the state does not regulate to make sure clients receive medically accurate information or comprehensive, non-directive counseling. 

Budget information comes from BTC Reports, July 2016, Vol. 22, Number 2, with the exception of the items under the Environment category, which come from Mountain True.