House budget lays out stark differences with Senate

Posted June 9, 2013
Updated June 10, 2013

— The North Carolina House of Representatives released its version of the state budget Sunday night – a $20.57 billion proposal that appears close to the Senate plan in terms of overall spending but deeply divided on issues of policy and priorities.

House budget subcommittees began reviewing and making changes to the budget on Friday. As already noted, the two chambers are divided on education policy as well as other items, such as whether to move the State Bureau of Investigation from the Department of Justice to the Department of Public Safety. 

Overall, the House budget spends only $12 million less than the Senate did in the coming year. But it sets aside far less money for tax reform. It puts somewhat less money into education in order to plow more into the state's Medicaid program. 

And the House's spending plan appears to contain far less policy than its Senate counterpart. The House budget bill is more than 100 pages shorter than the Senate bill. 

The new fiscal year begins on July 1. Budget documents released Sunday night cover both the 2013-14 and 2014-15 budgets, although the legislature almost never lets that second-year budget stand without adjustment. 

In general: 

  • The House spends slightly less than than Senate on education: $13 less million community college; $66 million more on K-12; $53 million less on university system in 2013-14.
  • The House spends $36 million more than the Senate in the Health and Human Services budget area, apparently responding to increasing shortfalls in Medicaid.
  • The House spends $24 million more on than the Senate on Justice and Public Safety programs.

The House budget gives state workers five vacation days but doesn't offer any raises. However, it does put back a salary supplement for teachers with advanced degrees that the Senate had stripped away. 

 Among the other notable items in the House budget:

  • Contains $50,000 each for survivors of the state's eugenics program. This is a long-standing difference between the House and the Senate, going back to the last legislation session. Senate Republicans have consistently refused to back compensation for eugenics survivors, while House Speaker Thom Tillis has backed compensation in high-profile ways.
  • Provides $464,100 to Parents for Education Freedom to develop charter schools in rural areas.
  • Provides funding and policy language to create the Opportunity Scholarship Act, a $50 million, two-year pilot program that will give taxpayer funds for some low-income students to attend private schools.
  • Gives a one-time $10 million boost the Community College System's equipment budget. This raises the total to $59 million in 2013-14, although that extra $10 million isn't there in 2014-15.
  • Directs the North Carolina School of the Arts to start charging tuition and fees. This is the same as in the Senate budget.
  • Eliminates the Child Fatality Task Force, a longstanding committee that has recommended changes to state child seat, helmet and other laws over the past decade.
  • Raises tuition on out-of-state students on University of North Carolina system campuses. The increases would be 12.3 percent at UNC-Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University.
  • Creates a $1.5 million per-year adoption promotion program.
  • The House budget backs off a Senate plan that would have shifted low-income pregnant women off of Medicaid. The Senate plan would have subsidized private insurance for these women. The House budget maintains the current system.
  • Spends $250,000 to replace trams at the North Carolina Zoo.
  • Moves the state Energy Office from the Department of Commerce to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
  • Eliminates taxpayer support for the Wildlife Resources Commission but allows the commission to keep operating with other funds, such as fees.
  • Provides $2.5 million to restore 69 state trooper positions that are currently vacant.
  • Adds three positions to the Lieutenant Governor's Office, including a communications director, policy director and director of constituent services.
  • Reduces funding for the state Ethics Commission by $22,434.
  • Doubles the governor's One North Carolina Fund grant from $14 million to $28 million for the two-year cycle.
  • Provides funding from the gas tax for dredging of coastal inlets.
  • Provides $1.4 million for 2013-14 to extend office hours at Division of Motor Vehicles locations.
  • Boosts funding for transportation services at the High Point Furniture Market to $1.2 million per year.
  • Anticipates reducing ferry tolls by allowing the toll system to use alternatives, such as selling advertising.
  • Eliminates the public campaign finance fund. This is a similar provision to the Senate.
  • Raises the fees for lobbying principals registration fees from $100 to $250.
  • Adds five vacation days, but no raises, for state employees.
  • Puts back a salary supplement for teachers who earn master's or doctoral degrees. That provision is on page 286 of the budget bill. The Senate budget eliminated this. It appears a conflicting provision in the House budget may eliminate the pay boost in the second year of the budget (2014-2015), but it's not clear based on the plan language of the bill.  
  • Mandates the closure of Horace Williams Airport in Chapel Hill by Aug. 1.

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  • Poboy1963 Jun 12, 2013

    Because $50,000 makes up for not being able to have any kids! Most ridiculous piece of legislation I have EVER heard of! I guess being able to get a 'big ole' big-screen tv, a freezer full of steaks and maybe even a new car will take the edge off of being sterilized 30+ years ago.

  • rlee1117 Jun 10, 2013

    I guess that one percent never happened?

  • rlee1117 Jun 10, 2013

    It is mostly one sided. Republicans have total control and unlike during the recession of 2008-2209, they also have the revenue. But still they choose to not give raises. Why?
    Plenty Coups

    So did they not get a raise last year from the Republicans?

  • Plenty Coups Jun 10, 2013

    raleighindependent-"The new governor is right we do need to rebrand NC, we use to be know as the education state."

    Or this: "We be 48th in edukashun! Les cut mor!"

  • Groogrux Jun 10, 2013

    As a special education teacher (Masters +12 years), I see that NC is freezing my pay AND considering stripping away my advanced degree supplement, while other states are offering sign on bonuses and stipends for my services. Interesting.

  • Plenty Coups Jun 10, 2013

    rlee-"Can someone tell me when the last time Democrats gave teachers a raise please?"

    Yes. Democrats advocated and approved raises of various degrees for every year starting in 1992 up until 2008. Republicans voted against every pay raise. Teacher pay was frozen in 2009 (bipartisan measure signed by Perdue) and it hasn't been lifted since. Perdue did propose giving teachers raises in 2011 and 2012 but was blocked by republicans both times.

    Page 15 has a yearly break down of teacher and other state pay raises:

    "If not then stop trying to make this seem like its only onesided here!!!"

    It is mostly one sided. Republicans have total control and unlike during the recession of 2008-2209, they also have the revenue. But still they choose to not give raises. Why?

  • Plenty Coups Jun 10, 2013

    "Time to unfreeze our pay increases!!!"

    They're not going to do it.

  • raleighindependent Jun 10, 2013

    The new governor is right we do need to rebrand NC, we use to be know as the education state.

  • rlee1117 Jun 10, 2013

    That's the kind of statistic that has made up all over it. More than 1 % or state employees are researchers in the UNC system alone so '99%' is wrong. Sure, there are unskilled jobs as well but they are also paid poorly. In fact most State jobs are paid poorly including the researchers, law enforcement, statisticians, and accountants.

    rlee1117 says "Face it - 99% of state jobs do not require a lot of deep thought."

    kenshi where did I post that?

  • Rebelyell55 Jun 10, 2013

    and accountants.

    June 10, 2013 4:20 p.m.............I guess you missed the story last year where they got them hugh raises in management and excutives.