2018 Fiscal Year State Budget, NC Budget and Tax Center

Why won’t North Carolina leaders think long-term?

Governor Cooper announced a clear vision for where North Carolina should aim: one of the top 10 most educated states in the country, an attractive place for people and business, and a state that supports the health and well-being of all residents.

Thinking long-term isn’t the norm for many leaders in North Carolina. Many argue that it’s the nature of elected officials to think in terms of their next election cycle. That may be part of the answer, but a very practical issue exists in North Carolina:  We literally can’t afford to think long-term.

Included with the Governor’s recommended biennial budget that was released last week is a chart that projects out the state’s revenue and anticipated expenditures over the next five years. The chart provides a troubling picture of just how close we are budgeting, even as we fail to meet all our existing needs. By 2021, revenue collections for North Carolina are anticipated to be $100.7 million above anticipated expenditures. These anticipated expenditures account for enrollment growth in public schools and Medicaid, costs of maintaining capital investments, paying debt obligations and maintaining a commitment to get teacher pay to the national average.

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2018 Fiscal Year State Budget, NC Budget and Tax Center

Governor’s budget makes important investments in Pre-K and child care

Gov. Cooper’s budget proposes lofty goals to improve North Carolina’s education system. A significant portion of that promise is focused on investing in high quality child care and increasing the number of children attending Pre-K. Investing in our state’s youngest and, often times, most vulnerable children is absolutely a step in the right direction. Here are four things you should know about how the Governor’s budget invests in children. Read more

2018 Fiscal Year State Budget, NC Budget and Tax Center

Governor’s Justice & Public Safety budget invests in safe and healthy communities

The Governor’s proposed Justice & Public Safety budget for fiscal year 2018 includes $161 million, a 6.2 percent increase, in additional state funding compared to the current fiscal year budget. The majority of the additional funds are for pay raises for state employees along with other targeted investments, particularly in the area of public safety.

Here are notable spending priorities in the Governor’s budget. Read more

2018 Fiscal Year State Budget, NC Budget and Tax Center

Governor’s Budget Supports State Employees, Strengthens Military and Veteran Affairs, and Modernizes IT

Gov. Cooper has proposed additional funding that focuses on state employee salaries, securing and modernizing information technology (IT), and strengthening military and veteran affairs. Supporting good management practices in government is needed to ensure agencies carry out their missions effectively and efficiently for the benefit of all North Carolinians. In his first proposed budget released on Wednesday, the Governor aims to increase the General Government budget overall by 8.7 percent over the current 2017 fiscal year budget, or $38.6 million. Under this proposal General Government operations would make up 2 percent of the state’s entire general fund budget.

Here are four key points from the Governor’s proposed budget related to general government:

  1. All state employees would receive a raise and one-time bonus and those underpaid would be brought to minimum market rate. The Governor has made it a priority to reward state employees (not including teachers, who are receiving a different pay raise under the proposed education budget) with the “largest increase in almost a decade.” The Governor’s proposal provides $178 million to support an increase of 2 percent or $800 (whichever is greater), as well as a $500 one-time bonus ($79 million), for all state employees not on the teacher salary schedule. Furthermore, the Governor’s budget also includes $16 million to increase state agency employee salaries where employee pay is below the minimum of the market and for additional adjustments for salaries in the bottom quartile of market pay.

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2018 Fiscal Year State Budget, NC Budget and Tax Center

Governor’s budget reflects high priority for the health of North Carolinians

 

Gov. Cooper presented a series of bold health initiatives in the budget proposal he released on Wednesday. In addition to Medicaid Expansion, it also would particularly improve access to care for North Carolinians with disabilities and mental health and substance abuse issues. The Governor proposed increasing the Health and Human Services budget overall by 6.5 percent, or $327 million, demonstrating that it is a top priority of the new Administration to protect the most vulnerable and help North Carolinians live healthy, productive lives.

Here are five key points from the Governor’s proposed budget related to health:

  1. Medicaid expansion is proposed and would cover over half a million additional individuals in need at minimal cost to the state’s general fund. According to the Governor’s proposed budget, expanding Medicaid eligibility would “cover 624,000 additional individuals and secure our share of federal resources that will inject over $4.4 billion in direct spending into our state. This expansion will create jobs, bolster our hospitals, save some rural hospitals from closing and stabilize private insurance markets.” By placing the state in a position to secure additional federal funding for Medicaid under existing laws to help North Carolina’s vulnerable populations, the Governor shows a continued commitment to join over 30 other states that have already done so. It should be noted that the Governor’s proposal does call for an additional $115 million over the next two years to cover changes to enrollment, utilization, costs, rates, and services associated with the Medicaid program.

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