Cooper rolls out proposed budget
Gov. Roy Cooper and state health and safety officials provide an Aug. 26, 2020, update on the coronavirus outbreak in North Carolina and the state's response to it.
As of today, we have 158,985 confirmed lab cases, 1244 new cases reported since yesterday, 1004 people in the hospital and, sadly, 2606 people who have died. These deaths are tragic, and every single day, as we battle this virus, I think of the families they left behind. Our key indicators and numbers uncovered. 19 continue to stabilize. And to keep improving, we need North Carolinians to practice the three W's where a mask that covers your nose and mouth wait 6 ft apart and wash your hands. Turnaround times for test results has come down, so if you need a test, go ahead and get one. The Department of Health and Human Services Web site has a list of free testing sites in counties across the state. Starting today, the Department of Health and Human Services Cove in 19 Dashboard will display average testing result. Wait times so people can see the time that it takes to get results. Back Cove in 19 has affected every corner of our state, including our state budget needs for many families. It has also shifted their priorities. Today, I'm sharing a recommended budget that offer support for a determined North Carolina. The budget I proposed takes on the challenges of today While building for the promise of tomorrow, we have to rise to the occasion of this pandemic response now and focus on ways to emerge from this crisis stronger than before. This budget includes recommendations for investing our remaining for federal Corona virus money to fight the pandemic and help relieve the financial stress that it's causing. The budget also lays out a plan for responsibly using state dollars to support a vision for North Carolina that is even better on the other side of this crisis. This pandemic has not concealed our weaknesses. It has exposed them. It's good that our state has more than $900 million in federal Corona virus relief fund money that we can invest wisely to fight this virus and tackle these weaknesses Head on. I propose 100 and $75 million for critical public health services. This money would go toward testing, trace tracing, prevention, mental health support and increasing access and help in underserved communities. It would also expand early childhood services and provide assistance for aging adults. For too long, public health has gone without the resources that needs a problem that is front and center at a time like this. I also propose an additional $49 million to develop a state stockpile of personal protective equipment so we can ensure that we are always prepared in the wake of covert 19. Perhaps nothing has changed as much as our schools. My budget proposes 100 and $32 million for our K through 12 public schools, so North Carolina can continue educating Children effectively through these difficult times. The budget would support at risk students, get more people connected to technology and provide protective equipment to keep students and educators safe. And there is additional funding in my budget for community colleges and universities as well, whether your student or a small business owner, access to high speed, reliable Internet has never been more important. I proposed $50 million as an investment in expanded access to this critical infrastructure, on top of the tens of million where millions were already putting an overdrive to increase access North Carolina innovation from companies. Largest ball will continue powering our economy through these tough times. My budget proposal includes $27.5 million for small business rent, mortgage and utility support and another $18 million to support historically underutilized businesses that we know have been left out too many times. Helping our small businesses survive and thrive right now will spark our local economies and keep many North Carolinians employed. These are just a few of the places I recommend investing our federal funding. State budget director Charlie peruses with us today, and we'll go through the proposal inm or detail after I take a few questions at the end of my remarks. We know states and local governments across the country still need help from Washington, even as we're putting this final block of funding to good use for North Carolina. But more is needed in our Congress, and the president must set politics aside to do what's right for the country as we whether this unprecedented storm. In addition to the federal covert funding, my budget outlines a responsible investment in North Carolina using state dollars and a bond proposal that will move our state forward to a brighter future for all of our families. We can take advantage of historically low interest rates by passing a bond. And I've proposed a health care infrastructure bond to improve the delivery of care and support vaccine development in our state in a 2nd $4.3 billion bond that the people would vote on in 2021 that would invest in our schools higher education, water and sewer infrastructure and affordable housing. A bond like this supports North Carolina businesses, and each $1 million of investment sustains or creates up to 13 jobs directly and 28 jobs and directly. This pandemic has taught us a lot of lessons, and I know nearly parents out there who have become homeschool teacher assistance out of necessity. They value our teachers even more than before. We cannot continue leaving teachers behind, but expected them to lead the way for our Children. Today, I proposed a $2000 bonus for our teachers and principals and in $1000 bonus for school support staff. Except for some who got step increases, educators were left out of this year's budget when it came to raises. I'm also proposing a $1500 bonus to our community, college and university employees who didn't get raises, either. Through ordinary and extraordinary times. We ask a lot of our educators. We trust them with help to help us grow the leaders of Damar. Let's put our money where our trust ISS Cove in 19 is a health crisis that has caused a unique economic challenge in North Carolina. It is once again exposed our unemployment benefits for the meager bottom of the country. Payments that they are. Our unemployment trust funds sits at just over $3 billion. Yet we rank very low in the list of states in the amount of benefits and dead last in the number of weeks that people are paid. We can fix this while still budgeting responsibly. I propose increasing the maximum benefit to $500 a week and extending the duration to 24 weeks. We can do this and still keep our trust fund over $2 billion while stopping the automatic cost. Increase the businesses and remember, the money goes right back into our local economies, supporting businesses in every community. People are hurting right now. This pandemic has knocked them out of work and left them with few options. Helping the unemployed is what this trust fund is. Four. So let it do some work. Finally, I'll end on an item that actually won't cost our state treasury anything. But it's perhaps the most important decision we can make right now to save lives, protect people's help, boost our economy with billions of federal dollars and save our rural hospitals. Medicaid expansion North Carolina is one of only 12 states that still has an expanded Medicaid. Even Indiana did it when vice President Mike Pence was the governor there. These people find themselves suddenly without a job, underemployed without the health care they counted on. We have a solution. Expanding Medicaid can help hundreds of thousands of working North Carolinians get health care when they need it most. Think of it this way. As we fight this grown of ours, what could B'more important than ensuring our neighbors? Daycare teachers, restaurant workers, small business employees and mawr have health care? Being able to see a doctor when you're sick shouldn't be a luxury. Taking care of people's health during a global pandemic shouldn't be a question. We can expand Medicaid right now if the largest like you would agree. Though it's been overdue for years, there's never been a better time or a greater need to do the right thing in hard times. North Carolinians have shown that we bounce back, but that's not by chance. It's because we are determined, determined to tough it out, to help each other and leave no one behind. Determined to turn our obstacles into opportunities. I know we can move through this tough time with more access to healthcare, stronger schools and a thriving economy. And we will, because North Carolinians will never give up. As I mentioned before, budget director Charlie peruses with me today. For those following along, you can goto OS B M that stands for Office of State Budget and management. Os b m dot N c dot gov To get the details of this proposed budget, Also with me today. Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr Mandy Cohen, our secretary of public safety, Eric Hooks, an emergency management director. Mike Spray Berry, Monica Maggie and Brian Tipton are our sign language interpreters and Jackie and Jasmine Motive via our Spanish language interpreters. Before Charlie goes through hiss longer presentation, I'll pause to take a few of your questions right now for either me, Dr Cohen, Mike Spray Berry, secretary hooks and once we've gotten through his meetings, we can I'll turn it over to Charlie to go through them or details of the budget proposal. And then you can ask him some questions as well. All right, we'll begin the question and answer portion. And if you can identify yourself in your organization, we would appreciate it, and we'll take the first question. Our first question is from Rebecca Martinez. W unc there. Rebecca. Oh, yeah. I'm sorry, sir. Thank you so much for taking my question. I am wondering about contact tracing, more garden. Um, well, I see that the number of positive cases of the percentage of positive cases have increased over the last two days. And I'm just wondering what trends are showing up in contact tracing. I understand that clusters have been reported at various universities, but I'm wondering if you're seeing other trends from contact tracing in other areas, be it a large group gathering, uh, churches, uh, other types of batteries, even gymnasium gyms that have reopened despite the face to close your order. Where are we seen upticks in positive Kobe cases. We want more testing, and we know that contact tracing is an important part of text testing in order to be able to find out who might have been infected with covered 19 and you'll see in my budget that we have invested significant dollars in both of these. But I'll call on Dr Cohen to give us the overview of where we are with contact tracing right now and whether we've seen any trends. Dr going. Thank you, Governor and Rebecca. Before I answer your question, I just want to thank the governor for his continued leadership throughout the cove in 19 Crisis, but to also thank him for the leadership on Medicaid expansion. Reiterate how important that is as we think about our overall response. But you look at are the last week of what we are seeing in our trends. Yes, largely, we are seeing clusters, um, coming from our university settings, largely these air happening off campus. We're seeing that at parties or at housing that is off campus, sorority or fraternity houses. Other group houses. Um, we're seeing some clusters on on campus universities and dormitory settings. We know that congregate living settings or settings were folks. Large groups of folks live together are more likely to spread this virus. That's why we're working closely to make sure universities really are stepping up their efforts to do things like holding students accountable and using their student codes of conduct and honor codes to really have some accountability for both on campus and off campus activities. I think if we all work together doing the three W's, um, that we are going to be able to continue to see stability in our trends. We did see stability over the last couple of days and new cases, but I think we have more work to do to make sure we can continue to see that stabilization. We've talked about the fact that our trends, our fragile in that progress, is fragile, and we need that constant vigilance to keep that up. Thanks. Next question. Please. We have a follow up. Rebeca Martinez, W UNC. Thank you so much, Dr Cohen. I I guess I would just like to follow up. Do you have any confirmation from contact tracing that there are basically the risk that you've cited around Jim's reopening um, I'm wondering sets born out by contact Trace. And do you know of gyms in the state where there have been positive Corona virus cases? Thanks, Rebecca. As you know, for the current executive orders, gyms are largely closed. There are certain gyms that may be doing outdoor activities or have very, very limited opening for folks who have some medical conditions. But Jim's air largely closed. That shouldn't show up in our contact tracing. If everyone is following those rules again, we will make sure to continue to talk about where we see risks related to viral spread. But again, I think you can remember that indoor activities where folks are close together for longer periods of time are the things that we know are higher risk. And whenever you're in those situations one we want to say, make sure you're wearing a face covering over your nose and mouth. Second, avoid gatherings not just staying separated at a online at the grocery store, but avoid those gatherings to begin with, um, and then also making sure that you're washing your hands or taking hand sanitizer. We're with you wherever you go. Thanks. Thank you. Next question. Please. Our next question is from the nest. Horrific with wcnc. Hi there. Thanks for taking my call. This is the necessary fits again with wcnc. Charlotte, Um, I have a question, actually, about the CDC guidelines. It looks like there was a quiet revision that took out spoke with, um no symptoms as far as people who needed to be tested. I wonder what your reaction was to this, Dr Cohen. First, I'll say we want more people to be tested. We think even asymptomatic people who think they may have been in compact or think they may be at risk in any way to get tested. This gives us the information that we meet we need in order to be able to put together contact tracing. And it allows people to know that they need to quarantined themselves to protect their family and their friends. But I'll let Dr Cohen give her opinion on that as well. Thanks. Vanessa. Yes, The CDC did change their guidance, but North Carolina has not. We still recommend that folks are getting tested when they have symptoms or when they are exposed. Um, and we also recommend folks get testing if they work in environments that are are higher risk. Meatpacking, agriculture, construction, food service. We want to make sure who folks who are coming into contact with public in their jobs also get testing if there's been an exposure. Um, and what I would say is the CDC did make put in their guidance to do defer to state level guidance. I think the change that they made today may reflect the fact that certain places were having challenges with testing. But we're not having that here in North Carolina, Is the governor mentioned earlier? We've seen test results coming back faster, and in fact, now we're putting that data on our dashboard so folks can see that test results are coming back faster and we want folks to get testing, so we have capacity. There's more than 600 testing sites across North Carolina. There are ones that are freed as their supported from state funding. So we encourage folks to check out what opportunities for testing might be near them and to go get tested. Thank you. Testing is a key to turn this thing around. Next question place. Our next question is from Gary Robertson with The Associated Press Governor Gary Robertson. With AP just looking at your budget, Um, you know, this is coming out almost two months into the start of the current fiscal year, the Legislature says, only be in town for a couple of days, and you're asking for a lot of things that probably would usually take weeks, if not months, to hammer out. Is this budget just more mawr aspirational in terms of what you would hope the Legislature or perhaps a 2021 Legislature would agree to. Gary, this is a This is a streamlined budget, much smaller than any kind of regular budget. I think you could condense it down to about 50 lines, so it's something that they know about a lot of these programs that we won't put money in. We have the over $900 million in federal Corona virus funds that we need to make sure that we distribute because there's an end of the year deadline on making sure that those are expended and we know that because I vetoed the budget and because it was never overridden, that there is money available to do some things that we need to do right now, so there is plenty of time for them to look at this budget. It's our We've already gone over it with budget leaders from both political parties, and we think that now is the time to put this in place and let's get it done. If they need to stay a few more days to get this done, we want to do it. I think the people of North Carolina need this next question, please. Our next question is from Dawn Bond within is an observer. I don't bond was, you know, thanks for taking our questions. Takes three more on what Gary just asked about. Um, you know, they're here for a short amount of time, and we still don't know how much flexibility is available with the Cures Act funds. So, um, how do you temper the proposal? Not knowing if you have that full flexibility. And then you mentioned two things that are sticking points of the budget stalemate last year with teacher pay and Medicaid expansion. Is that more looking in the future? Because these are the same, you know, leaders in both chambers that I have more or less the same positions they did when the dried out last year. First, unlike last year, were in the middle of a pandemic. A lot of people have lost their jobs and thus their health insurance. Now is the time to expand Medicaid. We have sent seen Oklahoma and Missouri at Dot adopt Medicaid expansion. It's dwindling as to the number of states that haven't done this, and the reason is because it provides health insurance for working people in those states. It also helps the economy. It also helps rural hospitals. It also helps positively affect private insurance premiums because you lower uncompensated care and in the middle of a pandemic, we need it now more than ever. And in fact, we're having to use some of our Corona virus dollars to pay for mental health treatment for patients that otherwise we could be using Medicaid dollars to pay. So now is the time to do this. And the reason that we waited until this time to have the session is because we did want to know what Congress was going to do. We were hoping that we would have more money to invest in fighting this pandemic by now. We were hoping to know whether we would have any flexibility with these funds by now. We don't know that question, and we know that the law right now requires us to make sure that we invest these funds before the end of the year. So now is the time to do it. I wish that Congress and the president hadn't left Washington and gone wherever they went. I wish they had stayed there until they came to some agreement on unemployment compensation on helping states and local governments on providing more money for health care and testing and personal protective equipment. But they didn't. So now we're here, and we have to make decisions about what we're going to do about this little over $900 million and what we're going to do to help public education, what we're going to do to get more health care to people. This should be really easy. And so I think you have toe Look at this point in time as different from last year, Yeah, we were having disputes over Medicaid expansion, but then a pandemic happened, and now a lot of people are hurting, and then we're fighting for every federal dollar we can get and here it is, right here. Here is the money to expand Medicaid and to get health insurance to 5 to 600,000 North Carolinians. Probably more now because many of them don't have jobs and they're not going to do it. I don't understand it. I think people should rise up and should let their legislators know that now is the time to do it. We can do it just like that. Just like that. With no additional state dollars, it's time for them toe to step up. Next question. Please follow up. Don Bond News and Observer. Thanks for taking a follow up. Um, you know when you will, you've already talked to their toe. Both chambers used you see any movement? There is force make extension, but then also wanted to follow up about the teacher pay and those bonuses. And if you think there's any compromise there Well, the last time we were here a couple months ago, they did provide small bonuses to teachers. Since that time, we've looked at revenue and there is more revenue available. Noticed that these aren't raises their not recurring raises because we don't know what the budget forecast is going to be. But we know that teachers, principals, school support staff, university employees and community college employees did not get recurring raises. Except some teachers got some step raises. So we want to come in to say we know how valuable you are to growing our future, and we know that you should be compensated. You should have gotten a raise. You didn't get a raise. But, hey, here is a bonus to show how much we appreciate you and that we want you to stay in this system and we're going to do better in the future. So the money is sitting there right now to provide bonuses for them. And we hope we hope that the Legislature well, make the decision to provide some sort some support to these educators across our state all the way from K through our universities. Next question, please. Our next question is from Damani Lewis of Wsoc. Ah, Good afternoon, Governor. This is Damani Lewis with Wsoc. Ah, this question is for you or Secretary Cohen. I was wondering, have you received any details from the CDC or Department of Health and Human Services? As to why they have changed their recommendations for testing. It is important to note that we have not changed our recommendations for testing because we know it's important for people to get testing. I think a lot of people were speculating, but I'll let Dr going speculate. I don't know why. Thanks for the question. I think the CDC was trying to consider certain localities that were seeing more strains on their testing infrastructure. But that's not here in North Carolina at this moment are testing. Turnaround times have improved. People can get their results faster. We have capacity. We have over 600 places where you can get tested. We've shared our concerns back with the CDC about the the language that they've used in the concern that is sowing some confusion here. That's why we want to make sure that we're clear that our guidance related to testing in North Carolina has not changed. Thanks. Next question, please. Our next question is for Michael Highland with CVS 17. Hi, this is Michael Highland's from CBS 17. Have a few questions related to the unemployment benefits. First, give us an update on where the state stands in getting out the $300 a week called for in President Trump's executive order. And are you proposing using any of the carers act money for the $100 match to that $300? First, our application has been approved for the $300 a week that comes from the president's executive order that is coming from FEMA. So we had worked with FEMA and the U. S. Department of Labor, and they're working to get this money out by next week. Sometimes we're hoping that that's when that can happen and people would get accumulated money, I think, from three weeks from around the first of August, and it will. It will really help them. We're certainly willing to talk with the Legislature about an additional $100 per month. We do know that they are not allowing us to use the unemployment compensation fund in order to fund this $100 So we would have to take it out of the money that we know that we need for a lot of a lot of other things. What Congress and the president need to do is get back to work. We had this $700. Excuse me, $600 per week that was added to the state benefits that just simply dropped because Congress and the president couldn't come to an agreement. We hope they fund that. I think there's a chance that they will. That's a program that's already going up. We had to set up a new structure to do this extra $300 a month. They're working on getting that out as soon as possible. That question, please. We will follow up Michael Highland's CDF 17. I just want to follow up on your proposal for the state unemployment benefit increase. Is it your intention that that would apply to people who are currently unemployed? The new potential max of $500 per week, or that only apply to people who become unemployed? Going forward would apply to people who apply for uninsurance unemployment insurance and that then there after it would not be retroactive. But our state unemployment benefits are way too. We have the shortest 12 weeks is the shortest period of time in the country. I think don't know, hold me to this. But I've looked at some figures that say that if we doubled, it even doubled it. We still be very low in the rankings of states on period of time because most a lot of states have 26 weeks, this would only have 24. So we way we do think that the hi benefit needs to be raised to the 500. But it would apply to people who who filed for unemployment insurance after the laws passed. If it is passed. Next question, please. Our final question for this portion will be from Travis scene with W r E O. Yeah, I got Thank you. Uh, I made the disadvantage of trying to read through these budget documents real quick. So forgive me if it's in here, but the stuff that's not coming out of the C r f how are you going to pay for that? That would include the teacher of bonuses, etcetera. And can you just confirm that there would not be any changes to the tax code like a tax increase to do so? This was money that will come from the general fund that is left over. It is non recurring money, and we believe that is important to appropriate. That money for educator salaries and Charlie is going to give a deeper dive into this budget document, Travis, and you can hang around and ask him some questions on that. No new taxes on this and ah way. Believe that this is the right thing to do by put putting this general fund money into our educators and the other the other items that you have on the list, Thank you very much. I'm gonna recognize now the budget director for North Carolina, Charlie Peru's He's going to go over the details of the budgets and then take your questions. Thanks very much. Good afternoon, everybody. For those following along the budget document that has been distributed out publicly online, I will be presenting both the general fund budget recommendations that the governor mentioned to you as well, as well as the federal Corona virus. Really fun budget recommendations will be working through the budget document. There are two summary tables on page one and paid six that will be going through with you this afternoon. I'll start on page one with the general fund budget recommendations you see at the top. The 1st 20 or so lines outline the budget availability that we can expend in fiscal year. 2021 in state dollars that throw through the general fund lines one through 12. Um, our existing appropriations or revenues that have been approved by the Legislature in there May in June. Sessions online. 14. You see the current balance, and this gets at Mr Feigns question that he just had when we closed out the fiscal year on June 30th 2020. Revenue collections were a little bit better than we originally anticipated, so we had $457 million online. 14. That is unallocated and unspent and available to be appropriated this fiscal year. In addition to those three governors, Budget has two additional adjustments to general fund availability online 17 and 18. The first one is related to opportunity scholarships. This eliminates the growing cash balance for private school vouchers in the state of North Carolina. All existing scholarships would be honored. This $85 million in sitting in the Treasury and is not being used. It does not dip into the $75 million recurring budget for this program, of which they only spend about 50 year. So this would sweep the cash balance for the private school voucher program. Line 18 is a technical adjustment for debt service requirements based on revised cash flow needs and historically low interest rates. The general fund can take a $17 million reduction here. So you had those two lines tow line 14 and are revised balance available to to expend in fiscal year 2021 is $559 million. Starting online 26 going down. Where does the governor proposed spending that $559 million? And he talked to you about some of the major pieces, and I'll go through those with you in a little bit more detail. Lines 27 3 29 are the educator salaries that the governor mentioned. Line 27 is a $2000 bonus for teachers and principals. This covers 200,000 teachers and principals statewide, of which about 45,000 did not receive a compensation increase last fiscal year or this fiscal year. Online. 28 non certified public school employees. There's 48,000 of those employees, which include teaching assistants, bus drivers and office staff. They also did not receive an increase last year or this year. This recommendation would provide $1000 business to those folks and then finally, um, the U. N C system in the community colleges are about 35,000 UNC system employees in 18,000 community college employees. This is both faculty and staff who also did not receive a compensation adjustment last fiscal year of this fiscal year, and those employees would receive in the governor's budget of $1500 bonus. This would be effective for all folks that are employed October 1 2020 and the bonus would be paid out in their December checks. The next several lines and I won't go through each and every one of them in detail, But I'll try to hit the high spots on a couple of the larger ones. Line 33. Ensuring a sound basic public education. This is related to the Leandro lawsuit in the consent order that was signed a few months ago. Three Governors budget provides 50 million to the public school system. In early childhood related to this consent order, $38 million would go for disadvantaged and at rest students, and about $12 million would be invested in early childhood education programs. Line 34. Disaster Recovery The state is required to put up a match to receive federal funds for recent hurricanes and the earthquake in allocating county from a couple of weeks ago. This 86.5 million is mission critical to serve people impacted by these storms over the last few years. This includes $15 million for Hurricane Matthew, $40 million for Hurricane Florence, $3.5 million for Hurricane Dorian. $4 million for Hurricane East i E s in $24 million related to the earthquake in Allegheny Card Allegheny County, just outside of Sparta a couple weeks ago. So, essentially between the educator salaries, Leandro and disaster recovery requirements that covers about 90% of the general fund budget recommendations. A couple other items worth noting, um, we have included in the governor's budget online. 36. $5 million for the local government commission in the treasurer's office for a financial assistance fund. Ah, the pandemic. It has shown that some small rural local governments, and are that are in economic distress made may need some immediate financial assistance from the state and we wanted to show our local governments that were there for them. In this, $5 million would go to the local government commission toe. Help out thes distress local governments online. 39. There's building reserves of about $14.5 million. We have several large facilities opening up in the current fiscal year. Brought in Hospital, a long term care unit at Central Prison in several university facilities. And this money is appropriated to them so they can come online this fiscal year and other critical needs and state agencies online. 40 That $10 million is the rest of state government. A few important items there include $4.8 million to implement the raise. The age legislation, 1.5 million for private assign, counsel for indigent defense legal representation. And $1.5 million to the Department of Justice for client crime lab operations lines 44 to 47. The governor went into quite a bit of detail with you on those already. Those do not require appropriation of general fund dollars, but her substantive recommendations lines 44 as mentioned, is closing the health care gap, or Medicaid expansion, effective January 1 2021. There to bond recommendations online. 45 46. First one is an immediate Health Infrastructure LTD. Obligation bond of just under a billion dollars. That would be a non voted the people bond that could be approved right away. Some of the large projects and that recommendation are outlined on page 14 of your budget document, but that includes 250 million to expand broadband access UM, 250 million for the new DHHS Building in Raleigh, UM, over $150 million in recommendations for our mental health, hospitals, prisons and other long term care facilities. Toe to have isolation units so we can keep people safe in those facilities. Um And then there's also about $275 million in University of North Carolina vaccine research and development projects at UNC Chapel Hill, N. C. A and T, UNC Charlotte and Winston Salem State University. So those of the general fund recommendations $559 million. It's in investments, and, as the governor mentioned, it's a very streamlined budget. Those $559 million or outlined on the pages behind here in consist of 21 individual line items now all transition to page six, uh, which summarizes the $980 million in federal Corona virus relief fund recommendations. And the governor was right on target with what we're having to deal with with Corona virus really fund monies. Now, um, you know Congress has not acted. There doesn't appear to be a deal in sight any time. It's soon. So the no known that we and all other states are charged with is we have to spend this money by December 30th, 2020 or we might lose it. So these recommendations are are made in that vein. Um, the first eight lines outline the Corona Virus Relief Fund Availability Line two is $552 million has been is unallocated and has not been appropriated by the Legislature yet Lines three through five, um, are related to not having flexibility for revenue replacement. Yet that's been talked about a lot. We still do not have flexibility from the state Treasury to use moneys for revenue replacement, so line items 34 and five were calling back money that are directly related to revenue replacement and then proposing to reallocate those monies below Line six. We're proposing to reallocate half of the money that went to the Golden Leaf Foundation for small business loans. They received 125 couple of months ago but are not going to be able to expend all those money because, um, quite frankly, folks, small businesses needs small grants right now rather than loans. And so we're pulling, proposing to pull back $62 million and reinvest that and items that will talk to you more about below. So we have just about $978 million a Corona virus relief money to spend. When you also add in interest that's been earned. We have about 25 recommendations, and we've tried to bucket them in particular areas to try to make a little bit easier to understand and explain. Ah, the first bucket online 11 is local government assistance. The governor recommends providing $200 million to local government statewide. This includes $150 million appropriation that would go to all 100 counties and similar to local government assistance before. Counties would then be required to provide at least 25% of their allocation to their municipalities. So 150,000,002 counties, 25% of which has to go to the Germans municipalities. Then we would have a $50 million bucket that would be divided in two ways. The North Carolina County Commissioners Association in the North Carroll League of Municipalities would each get a $25 million flexible grant appropriation, understanding that some counties and some municipalities are being impacted more than others. We want to understand that community spread and financial stress is hitting different areas more acutely. So providing money to the county Commissioners Association into the league for flexible grants that we would help them manage seems like a good recommendation to help those communities most impacted. Then, in lines 13 through 18 3, governor talked earlier about $175 million in critical public health services investments. They talked to you about those main areas you've been hearing. He and Dr Cohen talk about those the last several months testing and tracing prevention, mental health, helping historically marginalized populations, early childhood and aging adults all of them are are substantive packages to help folks that are most in need lines. 22 23 is a $242 million package. Teoh Our Education Community K 12 through University three governors recommendation Fully funds all of the emergency requests that we receive from the State Board of Education in the public school system, the U. N C. System Board of Governors in the community College system in the public schools. The money's would go towards helping at risk students provide access to connective ity, PPE transfer and transport meals. The university system funds would go towards testing PPE sanitation and quarantining the community colleges. Money would go to those same types of activities as well as online. The learning supports like Procter Ring and then finally, the governor's budget also provides $5 million for emergency needs for our private colleges statewide, the next several lines going from Lined 25 through 39 is a 214 million dollar comprehensive economic development package. The first bucket that's part of the economic development packages infrastructure. The governor talked to you about his $50 million recommendation for high speed Internet access, knowing that we got to get this money out and obligated and spent. By December 30th, it will go the large projects in that area, including towers and fiber transmission equipment, and for shovel ready local projects. Also, a $5 million recommendation for rural right revitalisation toe help our rural downtown and main streets come back to life lines. 29 through 31 are workforce and business development investments. Understanding that North Carolina continues to be a strong manufacturing state and we want to do you make all the investments we can to bring back PPE jobs. The next several investments help us in that area. Line 29 is $25 million for community colleges, immediate equipment needs related to workforce needs, health care and first responders. The PPE North Carolina initiative Online 30 is a very exciting project. It's a product prototype to manufacture reusable PPE. It's a public private partnership that would be involved the city of Conover out West Catawba Valley and gassed in community colleges and the private sector in the state coming together to make North Carolina ah, hub of research investment for a usable PPE. Then finally, we have a $5 million innovation and manufacturing grant in the Department of Commerce that would go to the private sector for them to purchase supplies or equipment for them to refurbish their manufacturing floors. To bring these peopIe jobs back, Lines 33 through 36 are direct business assistance and development. The governor mentioned lines 33 34 to you in his presentation, but to provide a little bit more detail. The first one is a small business rent mortgage and utilities relief program that we would be funded through the Department of Commerce. This would largely be focused on the hospitality and leisure industries and would provide up to $30,000 in grants or four months of rent, mortgage and utilities assistance, whichever is greater. Line 34 is a small business impact program that would be managed through the hub office in RNC Pandemic Recovery Office. This would provide up to $25,000 in grants, which or four months of operating expenses for hub certified businesses that often get left out from from federal existing federal programs or prior state programs. Line 34 is assistance for agricultural producers that have been severely impacted by the pandemic. This includes direct assistance to the meat processing producers, milk producers and livestock producers. And we work very closely with Commissioner Troxler on this recommendation and then finally, an $8 million a recommendation for the one and see Small Business Fund. We also want to capitalize on North Carolina and specifically UNC Chapel Hill, Duke being a worldwide leader and vaccine and testing development. This recommendation includes 25 million to the U. N C. School of Medicine to develop a rapid testing for large populations and then an additional $2 million to Duke University for vaccine and research. Develop it on top of the league $20 million they received in the covert package back in May. Finally, there's other critical items. About $150 million of other critical items. Online's 41 through 46. Number 41 is is very, very, very important. This is $50 million recommendation for nutrition and food security program statewide. This would include an additional 15 million to our Department of Agriculture toe work with the 10 largest food banks, 10 million for our public schools, $5 million for the Conservation fund to help with food security with our Latin Knicks community and then $20 million that would be a flexible grant pot that would be eligible for community nonprofits throughout North Carolina, the governor mentioned online. 42 The PP stockpile. This $49 million obviously is very important in helping us toe have the equipment we need for folks. Statewide. Line 43 is $20 million for museum, zoo and other cultural attractions whose have had serious budget impact from business disruption. This recommendation would include $10 million distributed on a per capita basis to our council statewide and then $10 million to support groups that are associated with the zoo, the aquarium's the Museum of Art Museum of History, Tryon Palace. In in other cultural groups throughout the state, we also have a $20 million recommendations online, 44 for the parks and trails for health or PATH program. We've seen throughout the pandemic that some of the busiest places in the state are state parks, great place together to get some exercise and to be outside. Um, they're seeing record attendance and so we wanted to provide them additional money for trail and park maintenance, sanitation supplies and those kinds of things. Finally, and there's a couple small recommendations. Hotels toe home $5 million Recommendation This is a pilot project that we're recommending. Start in the central North Carolina, where we take unused hotel space and utilize it for those impacted by the covert pandemic. Met a lot of homeless folks. This would provide 92 beds in the central part of the state in unused hotels for transitional housing for people impacted by Cove it And then, finally, there's a $5 million recommendation for an Andrew Harris Task Force recommendations helping with marginalized populations throughout the state. These $5 million would be used for wraparound services for those folks, which might include Internet activity, food security, mental health and other wraparound services. So you see the recommendations there from the Corona Virus Relief Fund total $978 million Um, buckets that the governor in and Secretary Cohen have been talking about a lot the last few months in areas where we know we can get the money out and spent by December 30th 2020. I'm now available to take your questions. A reminder to our reporters on the line. Please press one. If you have a question, our first question will be from Julie. Have Black with the Carolina Journal. I thank you so much for taking my question. I was hoping to ask about why you're releasing the budget now. Republicans have already put out statements saying that your four month late Yeah, as the governor mentioned Julie, thank you for your question. Is the governor mentioned earlier? We all thought that Congress was gonna act on another stimulus package several months ago before this fiscal year started, the U. S House passed, but another stimulus package three months ago. And quite frankly, North Carolina and many other states anticipated that there wouldn't be an agreement. Additional money would flow to North Carolina and would obviously impact how we do our budget. Um, if additional assistance came. We've been waiting patiently the last couple of months, realizing that a deal was not going to be struck. Also realizing that we now have, you know, revenue collections from the job. July 15th Tax State and we had closed out the fiscal year The Legislature had scheduled a session for September 2nd. Now is the time to present the governor's budget based on what we know to be fact at this point in time and what we know to be factors. We have about $500 million in general fund money and just less than a billion dollars in Corona virus leaf money to expend, and we're on the clock to spend it. Our next question will be from Colin Campbell with North Carolina Insider. I had a question on the additional funding that came in after the May forecast for the fiscal year. Some criticism for Republicans that that money shouldn't be spent because the thought process is a tax revenues that came in earlier than June were actually expected to come in later with DeLay. Is there any worry that if that money is spent plan that there may be a need for budget cuts further down the line when the revenue projections for the current fiscal year of a little bit more clear? I Colin, we don't We don't believe so, Um, we have a balanced budget in fiscal year 2021. We've we've had one based on Thea Shins taken by the Legislature in May in June. And when we do a revised consensus forecast, we anticipate hopefully it might be a little bit better than we in religion, Lee anticipated. That's why we feel comfortable bringing forward these recommit recommendations to you this afternoon. Um, you can see from from this document that in in the passion that was in the governor's voice, and you know, he believes these air must do items that educator salary increases or bonuses. Excuse me is a fairness issue. It's not fair that 150,000 teachers and other public school folks and U. N. C and community colleges didn't get any compensation adjustments. So in his mind, it's a it's a fairness issue. And then, quite frankly, with Leandro and disaster recovery, those air absolute must do items as well, and we anticipate the Legislature would do something in that area as well. Our next question is from Gary Roberts and with the associative breast. Yeah, Charlie, I think Colin, and pretty much ask my question. What's gonna happen is what is going to happen. When will you have a new revenue forecast? And what would the Legislature do or the governor do If, um You know, you need to cut back a little bit on that forecast given the spattered. You're spending all this one time money. Um, when we're problems. Say it would be a poor decision to do that. Yeah. You know, Gary, there there is a confluence of timing and factors here, but this is what we do know is is we had a consensus revenue forecast in May. Actual collections at Jean 30th 2020 were $457 million better in fiscal year 1920 than we originally anticipated. You know, I'm not going to speculate. Um, you know how long it's gonna take. We hope to have another consensus revenue forecast at the end of September. The governor's office. We were ready to do another consensus revenue forecast. Fiscal research in the legislature decided that it was best to wait. Um, but based on on what we're seeing and what's going on in the economy right now, obviously we still are being very much impacted by cove it But we would anticipate when the revised consensus forecast does come out at the end of September, hopefully it will be a little bit better than we originally anticipated, which makes thes minimal, $550 million but important investments very doable. Our next question is from Dawns on with the News and observer. All right, don't resent. Methinks start kicking other questions you just mentioned. That's the forecast you're hoping is gonna be a little bit better. Why do you think so? And what kind of cuts have been considered If that's what ends up coming down the road, I'm not sure I heard your question Clearly. I think you are asking why we think things might be better. I hope. I just think, you know, obviously we have actual collections now through, um, June 30th, where we closed out where things were a little bit better than we anticipated. About $450 million better. We also have seen July 15th final payments, which came in on budget, or maybe even a little bit more than the original forecast that we had in May. Um, you know, some of our other tax collection areas are holding up better than we originally anticipated, And so, you know, we believe that when we do get to a consensus revenue forecast, hopefully at the end of September. Um, that the forecast would would go up, not down. We feel very confident in that we have a follow up thanhvan News and observer. Um, clarify the second part of that question. Um, if the forecast comes in and it's not looking up, what kind of cuts are being considered? Um, you know, the governor When? When the pandemic hit a few months ago, we already put some belt tightening measures in place across state government, which saved us several $100 million in fiscal year 2019. 20. Um, you know, right now we have, ah, very streamlined budget in 2021. There wasn't a lot of expansion past were in strong financial shape. We still have $1.2 billion in our rainy day fund, but we don't anticipate having to do any of that or to make drastic reductions. Two crucial state services. We have a balanced budget, and we believe that that when the forecast does come out in September will be in good shape. Our final question today will be for Michael Highland with tpf 17. Hi. I want to ask about the part of the budget dealing with the opportunity scholarship program ASEAN. Here, it eliminates the $85 million. So to clarify students who are currently in school this school year and receiving those scholarships, they would be able to stay in their current school. But what they have any opportunity to grandfather in next year if this funding is eliminated, where they have to finding some other funding source if they want to stay in their school? Ah, good question. No, all existing students that have opportunity scholarships would be covered in perpetuity. So if you have a scholarship now through the private school voucher program, you would have won in perpetuity. This 85 million is only a sweeping of the cash balance that's just sitting there and growing to the tune of 15 to $20 million a year there. Any question? Thank you