The long awaited Senate budget arrived around 10:30pm on Sunday via the legislature’s website. Monday the subcommittee’s debated the budget, and Tuesday it was heard in Base Budget Appropriations and Finance Committees. Only having 5 amendments during committee, the budget is scheduled to take the floor in the NC Senate today at 1pm. This year, the Senate’s budget is like minded to the Governor’s budget – a large change from the last session and contrary to what the media wants the public to believe. In 2011, the House proposed a budget that was $600 million less than former Governor Perdue’s budget. Perdue and the House looked at things very differently, from state employee pay raises to tax increases – this year we have seen a different story play out.
The Senate and Governor Pat McCrory’s budgets are extremely similar, and both plans have parallel views on how the budget should spend taxpayer dollars. Both plans propose a small increase from the FY2012-2013 spending levels of approximately 2.1% or roughly $425,000. The large differences between the two plans come in three areas: larger cuts to the Justice and Commerce Departments by the Senate and more funding for Reserves, Debt and Capital Improvements by McCrory. To note, the news of the increased Medicaid shortfall came after Gov. McCrory’s budget proposal. Gov. McCrory’s budget accounted for the $133 million Medicaid shortfall, when the Senate composed their budget, they had to account for a $248 million shortfall; the reasoning for more cuts by the Senate than seen by McCrory.
The Senate plan also included a small amount of information about the proposed tax plan. Although the details of the tax plan haven’t been seen in the form of legislation, the budget does account for less revenue as a result from the proposed tax plan. Amounts of $217.1 million less in the first year, and $553.1 million in the second; a total of $770.2 million in tax cuts are expected over the next two fiscal years.
A lot of news outlets have been giving perspectives about the budget, one democratic organization even calls it a “mean-spirited, arrogant, and snarling partisan budget”, but that is not the case. You can read the entire committee report on the budget here.