THE RALEIGH REPORT
June 2, 2017
The House Budget proposal: SB 257 http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2017/Bills/Senate/PDF/S257v6.pdf
Following are very brief budget highlights. I'll send more details early next week.
House members cast their third and final vote on the proposed 2017-18 State Budget shortly after midnight on Friday, June 2. The Senate passed their version on May 12. House/Senate conferees will start work next week to resolve the difference. Leaders from both chambers intend to have a conference report no later than June 15. The differences between the two documents are significant, although they both use the same $22.9 million in funding.
The House proposal pays for some recurring costs with non-recurring funds and uses federal block grant money to some traditionally state funded programs. By doing so they were able to continue funding for the Governor's School and the UNC School of Law and give higher raises to teachers and state employees. The proposal includes funding for a new version of the Teaching Fellows program, and it fully funds the Pre-K waiting list. House Republicans did not include the Senate’s $1 billon income tax rate reduction; but it did increase the standard deduction for low and moderate- income filers by $1,000.
Although the House proposal made significant improvements over the Senate version, they both fall woefully short of what is needed for essential services and to invest in programs that will stimulate the economy and provide higher paying jobs. I voted NO on the House version.
Brief Highlights by Department:
• Classroom textbooks and digital materials: $10.4 million.
• Increase funding for children with disabilities: $11.3 million.
• Provide grants to expand vocational/career technical education: $700,000.
• Transfer apprenticeship program from Commerce to community college system: $1.4 million.
• Expand NC Works Career Coaches to work with high school students: $1.1 million.
• Begin program to give scholarships to high-achieving community college students: $50,000.
• University of North Carolina budget reductions determined by BOG Governors: -$22 million.
• Eliminate funding for recently created the NC Policy Collaboratory: -$1 million.
• Funds to stabilize East Carolina University's medical school: $4 million.
Health and Human Services
• Reinstate Medical graduate medical education program: $30 million.
• Reduce Division of Medical Assistance funding, with cuts determined by agency: -$30 million.
• Cut mental health funding for uninsured - $37 million – may be replaced by Medicaid savings.
• Legal fees for anticipated litigation over delays in construction of new Broughton mental hospital in Morganton: $2.5 million.
Justice and Public Safety
• Pilot program for quick response team to help overdose victims: $250,000.
• State Bureau of Investigation equipment and surveillance tools: $1 million.
• Eliminate funding for Department of Transportation litter crews and road squads: -$511,000.
• Eliminate funding for emergency judges: -$195,000.
• Global TransPark improvements, strategic plan: $992,000.
• Funds for strategic transportation projects that have ranked the best through the DOT scoring system: $139.7 million.
• Create new State Ports Authority Fund to modernize ports: $45 million.
• Remove limit on state matching funds toward light rail projects.
Duke Energy Requests a 15% Rate Hike
Duke Energy announced this week it was requesting a 15% rate hike to help pay for coal ash clean up, transmission system upgrades, and more conversions to natural gas. The NC Industrial Commission will decide on this request. If you want to comment, the NC Industrial Commission has a public input process. Find out more at this website.
From the Fayetteville Observer: Duke seeks 15 percent rate hike in N.C.
How to Engage
It's tough to keep track of what is happening. Here are some ways to stay involved.
1. Call me or my legislative assistant Gina Insko at 919-733-7208 or email me at Inskola@ncleg.net with How can I get involved in the subject line.
2. Follow us on Twitter at @verlainsko and Facebook at Verla Insko.
3. Visit ncleg.net where you can see bills, listen to session, and see daily calendars.
4. Help us spread the word on social media or by forwarding this newsletter and other alerts or key news items.
As always, thank you for your support of my work in Raleigh as your representative. Please let me know of your position on issues, your suggestions for legislation and your requests for help.