Highlights of the final North Carolina budget agreement as proposed in legislation and the related “money report” crafted by House and Senate leaders. The $22.3 billion plan adjusts the second year of the already-approved two-year budget.
The Senate gave preliminary approval to the measure Tuesday evening. The House was expected to take up the measure later in the week.
Monetary figures are adjustments to what the legislature already budgeted for the year in the two-year plan:
– $10 million pilot program to give third-grade reading teachers bonuses whose student growth scores rank in the top 25 percent of similar teachers statewide and in each school district. A teacher could receive bonuses of up to $6,800.
– Teach an additional 5,875 students projected to enter the public schools statewide this fall, at a cost of $46.8 million.
– Use $57.3 million more in state lottery funds to pay the salaries of public school clerical workers, custodians and support staff, on top of the $315 million in lottery funds for non-instructional personnel already appropriated for the coming year.
– $4.9 million for a two-year pilot program to give teachers $25 or $50 bonuses for each student that receives good grades on Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate course tests or on career and technical credentialing tests.
– $2.5 million more for instructional supplies, materials and equipment, bringing the total to $47 million.
– Accelerate carrying out the state’s Digital Learning Plan for the public schools with $4.7 million.
– Raise textbook and digital materials spending by $10 million to $71.5 million.
– Reduce public school central office administrative spending by $2.5 million to $92.6 million.
– $5 million more for North Carolina Educational Endowment Fund, designed to give bonuses to public school teachers.
– Create tuition reimbursement program for 25 teacher assistants in five counties pursuing a college degree and teacher’s license.
– Adjust downward money for community college enrollment by $26.2 million, reflecting a 4.1 percent decline in enrollment.
– $6 million for community college campus equipment.
– $3.4 million for the Gaston Community College Center for Advanced Manufacturing.
– Reduce cost savings the community college system must find annually by 11 percent to $46.8 million.
– $31 million to teach an additional 3,125 full-time equivalent students expected at University of North Carolina system campuses this fall.
– $1 million for assistance to help eight UNC schools establish laboratory schools for K-8 public school students to help train classroom teachers and principals.
– $2.3 million for a program to help college students unable to complete their bachelor’s degrees to finish their schooling.
– Restore $16.3 million for UNC campuses because of the repeal of a law last year prohibiting campuses from spending more than $1 million in operating funds for private fundraising activities.
– Lower cost savings the UNC system must locate annually and return to the state by $16.3 million to $62.8 million.
– $3 million for UNC School of Medicine’s Asheville Campus, a joint program with the Mountain Area Health Education Center. Another $8 million would be used to construct a facility to house the program.
– Direct Elizabeth City State University, Western Carolina University and UNC-Pembroke to set fall 2018 tuition rates at $500 per semester for in-state students and $2,500 for out-of-state students. Give $250,000 for Elizabeth City State to market the NC Promise Tuition Plan.
– Freeze UNC in-state tuition for incoming freshmen this fall for the next eight or 10 semesters, depending on the program.
– $300,000 to administer new Cheatham-White Scholarships, which will give full scholarships to 50 students at North Carolina Central University and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University beginning in fall 2018.
– Raise funding for special education scholarships for children with disabilities to attend private school or receive tutoring by $5.8 million to $10 million.
– Set aside $34.8 million to pay for scholarships for low-income K-12 students to attend private of religious schools, with plans to raise it annually by $10 million through mid-2028.
MEDICAID & HEALTH
– Reduce funding for contractual services by the Department of Health and Human Services by $3.2 million.
– $7.7 million for graduate medical residency program at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville.
– Serve another 260 children through the North Carolina Pre-K program with $1.3 million, raising the program total to 29,400 slots.
– $4.8 million to serve another 260 children through the state child care subsidy program and to raise subsidy rates.
– $9.2 million to improve state and county child welfare programs and provide more oversight.
– $60,000 for three additional positions to review child fatalities more quickly.
– $14.8 million for local health departments in part to minimize the effects of reduced Medicaid reimbursement rates on patient services.
– $478,000 on mosquito surveillance, control and education to prevent the Zika virus and other related viruses.
– $20 million in reserve to carry out recommendations of the Governor’s Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Use.
– Adjust Medicaid funding growth downward by $318.6 million to reflect lower enrollment and service use by enrollees.
– $1.5 million for 320 additional slots to serve Alzheimer’s disease patients through Medicaid program.
– $2.6 million for 250 additional slots for home-based services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities through Medicaid.
– $1.2 million for 25 new positions to expand the new Division of Health Benefits, which will ultimately take over the Medicaid program.
TAXES & FEES
– Increase standard deductions for individual income taxes both this calendar year and for 2017 by $500 (single, married filing separately), $800 (head of household) or $1,000 (married filing jointly) annually. In 2017, the standard deduction will range from $8,750 to $17,500.
– Increase newborn screening fees from $24 to $44 to offset increase costs and the inability to reimbursement the costs from Medicaid.
OTHER AGENCIES & PROVISIONS
– $3 million for North Carolina Forest Service firefighting equipment, including an airplane.
– $629,000 to hire nine new workers at DuPont State Forest.
– $250,000 to increase access to fresh food in “food deserts” in the state.
– Eliminate three public information officer positions within the Department of Environmental Quality, saving $215,000.
– $8.7 million to purchase a new plane for the State Bureau of Investigation. The agency’s current plane is not usable.
– $1.4 million to put finishing touches on western regional crime lab in Edneyville scheduled for early 2017 opening.
– $2.2 million to outsource toxicology texting to help reduce State Crime Lab backlog.
– $3.5 million to increase indigent defense funding to hire private lawyers.
– Hire six workers in Securities Division of N.C. Secretary of State’s office.
– $10 million for ferry vessel replacement and funding to begin a passenger-only ferry route between Hatteras and Ocracoke islands. This passenger-only route will be tolled. The existing Ocracoke-Hatteras ferry for automobiles would remain free.
– $13.8 million for railroad track improvements, crossing safety and industrial, port and military access improvements
– $32 million for more construction under 2013 law that reworked the evaluation and funding of Highway Trust Fund projects.
– Repeal $500,000 cap on state funding for light-rail projects, but total state funding for a project can’t exceed 10 percent of the estimated total project costs.
RESERVES & GRANTS
– $18.8 million increase in water and wastewater infrastructure grants.
– $5.7 million in grants to 56 towns and cities for downtown revitalization projects.
– Increase Clean Water Management Trust Fund by $8.6 million to $22.4 million.
– $5 million to retrofit and purchase equipment for a regional career and technical education center in Onslow County.
– $3 million for Jones County middle and high school construction.
– Reduce by $10 million the Job Development Investment Grant reserve to reflect incentives payouts to $61.7 million.
– Repay $38 million owed to the federal government for a Wilmington harbor navigation project from the late 1990s.
– Public school teachers would receive average 4.7 percent raises. A document provided by legislative staff shows current teachers would raises ranging from $750 to $5,250, depending on years of experience and where they sit on the most common salary schedule.
– Rank-and-file state employees would get 1.5 percent raises and bonuses equal to 0.5 percent of their income. There’s also an additional pot of money equal to 1 percent of salaries that would be distributed by agencies based on merit-based standards.
– Public retirees would get cost-of-living bonuses equal to 1.6 percent of their annual payments.
– $1.8 million for experience-based salary increases for Highway Patrol troopers.
– $500,000 for raises for State Bureau of Investigation and Alcohol Law Enforcement agents.
– $16.9 million to continue efforts to raise pay for state prison officers, supervisors and administrators.
– $4.9 million for experience-based salary increases for assistant and deputy clerks of Superior Court and magistrates.
– $20 million from proceeds of sale of Dorothea Dix hospital property to Raleigh for treatment of mental illness for children and in rural areas.