House budget bill: Highlights, part 1

The House's budget proposal, H200, was posted online late this afternoon before tomorrow's committee debate. So what's in it?

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Laura Leslie
House leaders decided to post their budget proposal online late today. If you're planning to listen in on Wednesday's marathon Approps meeting, this will no doubt come in handy.  You can download the PDF here.

The bill, H200, weighs in at 333 pages, 63 of which are devoted to basically dismantling the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. I'm only halfway through, but I thought I'd post what's caught my eye so far.

(This is by no means a comprehensive list. Please feel free to let me know what I've missed.)

  • Sets aside $230 million for a tax-cut package.
  • Takes the Golden Leaf appropriation, $67.5 million, for next year.
  • Abolishes the Tobacco Trust Fund and the Health and Wellness Trust Fund. Directs some money into debt service, UNC’s Cancer center, and health initiatives. The rest goes to the General Fund, mostly to be used to help agriculture.
  • Institutes strict new curbs on the Governor’s power to manage the budget when lawmakers are not in session. Perdue would have to call an interim committee back to add so much as one position in the executive branch. Grant money would also be subject to new oversight.
  • Caps salaries at organizations receiving state grants. No more than $100,000 in state money could be used to pay one person's salary at even the biggest grantees. If the salary exceeds $250,000, no state money can be used for it.
  • Centralizes executive branch IT services and caps the fees the IT Department can charge state agencies for service.
  • Career school employees who are riffed would no longer have priority for new openings.
  • Requires LEAs to spend 65% of state funding on classroom instruction.
  • College transfer programs at community colleges would no longer have to meet accreditation standards for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
  • Ends free community college courses for developmental programs, incarcerated juveniles, or rehab patients.
  • Limits need-based college financial aid and legislative tuition grants to no more than 4 ½ years enrollment.
  • Eliminates tuition and fee waivers or reductions for out-of-state students.
  • Parents of children in More at Four will have to pay a copay of around 10%.
  • People using Mental Health, Developmental Disability, or Substance Abuse services will have to start paying a Medicaid-type copay.
  • The state Health Secretary can reduce or eliminate coverage for hearing aids, dental and optical care or adults and children, chiropractic and podiatric services, prosthetics, physical therapy, and personal/private nursing care.
  • No state or state-administered federal funds to Planned Parenthood
  • Limits low-income energy assistance grants to only senior citizens near the poverty level and disabled adults.
  • Strips a lot of power and a lot of funding out of DENR, transferring several oversight programs into the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, both of which are coincidentally overseen by Republicans.
  • Removes the forestry division and the care of state forests from DENR and puts it under DACS, with a new profit-driven mandate.
  • Ends the state pilot program for monitoring animal waste runoff from swine farms.
More to come later, when I finish the read-through. UPDATED: Part 2 is here.


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