BTC Quick Take on the Conference Budget

The $20.2 billion conference budget released late yesterday brings together the Senate and House plans to fund state investments at 11.4 percent below pre-recession levels and at a new all-time historic low of 5.47% of state personal income.  Here are some of the key details from this budget proposal that will likely move to the floor as early as tomorrow for a vote.

K-12 Education

  • Increases public education budget by a net $62.4 million in recurring funds, or about 0.8% over continuation. This doesn’t include the $85 million in reserves for LEAs to support a 1.2% salary increase.
  • Partially restores the LEA adjustment by $143 million, of which $16.4 million is paid out of education lottery surplus (one-time) dollars. This line leaves the LEA Adjustment at a total of about $359.8 million, which is about $63 million less than the current year ($429 million)
  • Cuts textbook funding by $4.3 million (new item)
  • Includes the majority of the Excellence in Public Schools Act, appropriating $27 million in recurring dollars to fund it (Senate budget)

Community College

  • Includes funds to restore part of the management flexibility reduction (5%) with the remaining $83 million to be found by the State Board of Community Colleges. (House budget)
  • Includes $5 million in non-recurring dollars to support the NC Back to Work initiative (House budget)
  • Eliminates the fee increase for continuing education scheduled to take effect in FY 2012-13 (House budget)

UNC System

  • Funds projected enrollment increase with an addition of $1.3 million in recurring dollars (Senate budget)
  • Funds the Faculty Retention and Recruitment Fund at $3 million (both Senate and House budgets)
  • Increases money to UNC Need-Based Grant by $18 million from Eschaets and Lottery Fund, which is roughly half of what is needed to make up for the 2011 budget’s $35 million cut to the program

Health and Human Services

  • Provides $212 million to partially fund the projected enrollment growth in the number of people eligible for Medicaid
  • Anticipates $59 million in savings through Community Care of North Carolina
  • Changes the eligibility criteria for personal care services and reduces appropriation by $6 million
  • Provides for $10.3 million to plan to transition individuals with severe mental illness to community living arrangements and temporary assistance in the amount of $39.7 million to adult care and group homes they transition individuals to community placements (similar to House budget in total dollars, provisions similar to Senate budget)
  • Takes no action to address the NC Pre-K waiting list or to restore cuts made last year

Department of Natural and Economic Resources

  • Transfers significant functions to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, reducing the budget by 26.6% over continuation (House and Senate budgets)

Clean Water Management Trust Fund

  • Eliminates total recurring appropriation ($11.25 million) and replaces with $10.75 million in non-recurring funds. This is a 4.4% cut from continuation for the CWMTF, which before the 2011 session was funded at $100 million annually.


  • Most notable are the changes to OneNC, a $45 million transfer from OneNC to GF, leaving a $15 million balance in the Fund.  This differs from the House language, which only transferred $30 million out of the fund, the Senate, which transferred out $50 million. The money report also specifies an additional $9 million in R to be put into the Fund from reserves.
  • Appropriates $5 million of this total amount for an unspecified economic development project not related to OneNC operations—this is likely for the same non-Commerce-requested land purchase that drew heat during the Senate debate.


  • Caps the gas tax at 37.5 cents for FY2012-13. The final budget drops a provision from the House budget that would require DOT to plan as if the gas tax were actually set at 35 cents instead of the current revenue forecast process.
  • Directs DOT to collect tolls on all ferries in the state with three exceptions: the Hatteras–Ocracoke ferry and the Knotts Island ferry would remain exempt from tolls per current state law and the Cherry Branch/Minnesott Beach route would be toll-free for FY2012-13 only.
  • Transfers $63 million in non-recurring funds from the planned Garden Parkway and Mid-Currituck Bridge toll projects—both of which will not be ready to expend the funds in FY2012-13—to the Mobility Fund. The Mobility Fund also receives a recurring $45 million appropriation.
  • One new item in the transportation section is a non-recurring $2 million appropriation to supplement and advance project studies related to the Mid-Currituck Bridge project to move the project forward to construction.
  • The Regional New Starts & Capital Program within the Public Transportation Division of DOT is eliminated. The unexpended balance of funds for this program ($25 million) is reallocated to the LYNX Blue Line Extension project in Charlotte. Because this program is eliminated, funding for fixed-guideway projects, commonly referred to as light rail, will compete with highway and road projects for funding from the Highway Trust Fund.
  • Makes a $1.9 million recurring cut to public transportation grants, which are often used to draw down federal matching funds. This cut is smaller than the $2.6 million cut proposed by the House. The Senate proposal did not include cuts to the grant program.
  • Makes no fee changes to the Drivers Education program (Senate budget)

Justice and Public Safety

  • Makes mostly management flexibility cuts to the JPS agencies (Senate budget)
  • Expands the Parole Commission by two full-time equivalents and eliminates the Edgecombe Youth Development Center (House budget)
  • Transfers the Consumer Protection Division to receipt-support, removes Family Court from continuation review, and uses $200,000 in mortgage settlement funds to cover cuts to the Conference of District Attorneys (House and Senate budgets)

Housing Trust Fund Agency

  • Eliminates $7.9 million in General Fund appropriations to the Housing Trust Fund for FY2012-13, swapping this money out with the same amount in non-recurring funds from the National Mortgage Settlement.


  1. Melissa Reed

    June 21, 2012 at 10:13 am

    You neglected to mention that the budget includes an unconstitutional ban on funding to Planned Parenthood to provide preventive reproductive health care to low income men and women.

  2. […] as our out-of-control state legislature enacted devastating cuts to public education, environmental regulation, the Teaching Fellows program, drug courts, election funding, preventative women’s health […]

  3. Frank Burns

    June 22, 2012 at 8:49 am

    How is it unconstitutional to decide not to fund an advocacy group?

Check Also

K-12 public education retrospective: back to school edition

As the school year begins, we’ve paused to ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

Conference comes a day after new report lauds benefits of same-day registration The new line-up for [...]

North Carolina’s largest public school system may be warning of “enormous disruptions” without speed [...]

Carol Turner hadn’t lived in North Carolina long before last November’s election. A retired nurse, s [...]

Controversy over class-size requirements in early grades has emerged as the biggest issue facing Nor [...]

The wisdom of the plan by Senate leaders to cut taxes by $839 million was called into question this [...]

Several years of tax cuts have not fixed our economic problems, and more of the same won’t either In [...]

Progress on “second chance” agenda marks a rare positive development in state policy wars There are [...]

24 million---the number of people in the United States who would lose health care coverage by 2026 u [...]

Featured | Special Projects

Trump + North Carolina
In dozens of vitally important areas, policy decisions of the Trump administration are dramatically affecting and altering the lives of North Carolinians. This growing collection of stories summarizes and critiques many of the most important decisions and their impacts.
Read more

HB2 - The continuing controversy
Policy Watch’s comprehensive coverage of North Carolina’s sweeping anti-LGBT law.
Read more