NCACC Analysis of State Senate budget’s impact on counties

NCACCDistributed by the N.C. Association of County Commissioners – June 19, 2015

The N.C. Senate passed its budget for the 2015-2017 fiscal biennium on June 18. This version of the state’s budget spends less than the House, putting more funds in reserve accounts. It also includes extensive policy modifications such as Medicaid Reform and tax changes that heavily affect counties.

The Senate continued the legislature’s practice of appropriating $100 million from the Education Lottery proceeds for school construction. An additional $100,000 from the lottery funds a study of school construction needs in 50 low-wealth counties. The bill also increases the lottery’s advertising budget from 1% of annual revenues to 1.5%.

The Senate put half a billion dollars in the Savings Reserve Account (Rainy Day Fund) and $155 million in the Repairs and Renovations Account to maintain state buildings. State employees do not get an across-the-board pay raise, but the Senate sets aside $34 million in a reserve fund to provide salary adjustments for state positions where pay is below market value. It also gave teachers an average raise of 4%, focusing higher raises on starting teacher pay.

The Senate follows the Governor’s request in creating new departments of Military and Veterans Affairs, and Information Technology. The state budget will now enter a negotiation phase between the House and Senate to come to agreement on vast differences. The entire Senate budget is available at the General Assembly’s Web site.

  • Click here for a more detailed version of the Senate plan.