2018 Fiscal Year State Budget, NC Budget and Tax Center

Senate’s proposed budget falls short of truly promoting safe and healthy communities

The Senate’s proposed Justice & Public Safety budget for fiscal year 2018 includes is a modest 2.6% percent increase in state funding compared to the current fiscal year budget. Beyond additional funding for pay raises for some state employees, the Senate’s budget falls short in boosting investments that promotes safe and healthy communities.

Here are notable takeaways from the Senate’s proposed budget for Justice & Public Safety.

  1. Provides $33.7 million in additional state funding for pay raises to public safety state employees. The Governor’s budget provides a total of $65.5 million in state funding for pay raises one-time bonus payments for permanent full-time state Justice & Public Safety employees.
  2. No additional state funding provided for indigent individuals to have access to private counsel representation. The Governor’s recommended budget includes $2.9 million in state funding for fiscal year 2018 to increase compensation paid to private counsel representing people who are indigent.
  3. Provides $250,000 for a limited pilot project with the City of Wilmington to address the needs to opioid and heroin overdose victims. Governor Cooper’s recommended budget provides $2 million in one-time state funding for grants to local law enforcement to combat opioid abuse.
  4. No additional funding provided for initiatives that support the Justice Reinvestment Act. The Justice Reinvestment Act (JRA) was passed in 2011 and made major changes to sentencing and corrections in North Carolina in an effort to reduce state spending on corrections and to reinvest the savings in community programs that decrease crime and strengthen neighborhoods. The Governor’s budget includes a total of $4 million in state funding for various support initiative that continues the implementation of JRA.
  5. Provides no additional state funding to enhance access to mental illness services for offenders. By contrast, the Governor’s recommended budget provides $5.8 million for fiscal year 2018 to enhance services for mentally ill offenders, with the goal of decreasing the likelihood of post-release mental health challenges and associated costs.
  6. Provides no state funding to support “Raise the Age” initiative. The Governor’s budget, by contrast, provides $14.2 million of state funding for fiscal year 2018 to support proposed “Raise the Age” legislation that would raise the age of juvenile criminal jurisdiction and to build a new youth development center.

For more news and analysis during the budget debate, follow the Budget & Tax Center on Twitter @ncbudgetandtax.


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