Budget

While North Carolina has a small budget surplus, Republican lawmakers say they hope to trim more spending from state government. STATUS: Gov. Pat has signed the $20.6 billion state budget for the fiscal year that began July 1, 2013.

 

Rewriting the state budget is annual tax for state lawmakers. The $20.2 billion budget passed in 2012 expires June 30.

For the past four years, lawmakers have been dealing with deficits that required hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cuts to state spending. This year, tentative budget projects show the state's fiscal picture has improved and that North Carolina may be running a small surplus. The one area that's a possible exception, according to lawmakers, is the perennially problematic Medicaid health insurance program for the poor and disabled.

While lawmakers will not be forced to cut because of a crises this year, Senate leader Phil Berger said he believes Republicans will endeavor to further trim state spending. After the governor presents his budget, the state Senate will draft its spending plan. The House will then generate a budget and the three versions will be reconciled into a final compromise budget.

Bills and status:

Update (6/23/13): Now that Gov. Pat McCrory, the Senate and House have all drafted their own versions of the budget, the plans must be reconciled. There are dozens of specific differences between the plans, although all agree on the need to focus on basic items like maintaining state buildings. Broadly speaking the biggest differences are in the education arena, with the Senate giving bigger support to the university system and the House making fewer cuts to K-12 public education. 

Although negotiators are working on a compromise plan, they expect to miss the July 1 deadline for passing a new spending deal before the beginning of the fiscal year. A temporary budget, known as a continuing resolution, will be put in place to ensure the government continues to operate while a final deal is worked out. 

Update (7/1/13): Lawmakers have passed a continuing resolution to give themselves until July 30 to adopt a final spending plan.

Update (7/18): Legislative leaders say they expect to come to an agreement by July 21. House Speaker Thom Tillis said he expected a budget "conference report" to be read into the House floor on Sunday night.

Update (7/29): Gov. Pat McCrory has signed the final budget passed by lawmakers. Click here for details. 

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