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Follow the money: how the Senate pays for its budget

Call it round two: as we did for the House budget [1], BTC has taken a close look at the Senate budget’s availability statement to break out where they raise, and spend, General Fund dollars before the budget negotiation itself even begins.

Here’s where the Senate raised its money:

How the Senate spends money in the availability statement:

Other noteworthy items in the Senate availability statement:
  • No mention of the $42 million Education Lottery surplus. While the House budget would have diverted this surplus to increase total General Fund availability, the Senate budget takes a different route, budgeting the surplus to increase funding for class size reduction, early childhood education, and need-based college scholarships. The budget bill notes that if the surplus is greater than currently forecasted, any additional money is to be budgeted for UNC Need-Based Scholarships. As did the House budget, the Senate budget skips the statutory 5% transfer to the Education Lottery Reserve Fund [5] but that’s where the similarities end.

While the Senate relies less heavily on short-term resources than the House, it has proposed a budget that will fail to light a much-needed fire under North Carolina’s slow recovery from recession. As in the House proposal, the modest increase in state spending under the Senate proposal would be financed almost entirely one-time money, and even so would be far too insignificant in scale to make any noticeable economic impact. However, what would surely be noticed under the Senate’s budget is the disappearance this fall of 4,000 to 5,000 public schools jobs across North Carolina. In that sense, this budget would make a real impact – just not the kind thousands of North Carolinians will necessarily want to experience.