House Appropriations subcommittees started debate yesterday on the specifics what it means to balance the budget in a pro-family, pro-growth way.
Proposed savings in primary and secondary education of $694 million are midway between Gov. Perdue's $351 million and the John Locke Foundation's $1 billion. Community College and UNC savings are about what the John Locke Foundation proposed in broad numbers.
The House has more potential savings in Health and Human Services than JLF alternative budget has, but the proposals are listed as “options” and some are redundant, so the total reduction in HHS spending will likely be smaller.
Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler was vocal in his complaint to Gov. Perdue that his department could not cut anymore. He gets $1 million more. The Commerce Department gets an $8 million boost. The House budget also funds the NC Biotech Center and the Rural Economic Development Center, which the JLF budget would eliminate. DENR, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources gets a $22 million haircut and the House would also claim the entire $100 million for the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, like the JLF budget.
As much as the headline numbers matter, some of the smaller decisions indicate a change in philosophy. Budget writers would close revenue-generating facilities or make them self-sufficient. They also would eliminate the reserve for ObamaCare implementation.
The budget also moves $3 million in the Highway Fund from a contingency fund to spot safety.