North Carolina NOW Legislative Update
28 May 2016
This week the focus was still on the budget. The Senate has not yet released its proposed budget; however, it is expected to do so on Tuesday.
The Senate did release its plan for teacher pay raises, and the plan is significantly more ambitious (and costly) than the across-the-board raise averaging four percent in the House budget. See North_Carolina_NOW_Legislative_Update_5.28_May_2016 for more.
The House and Senate also disagree about how to phase in cuts to state income tax by raising the standard deduction. The House proposes to phase in the cuts over a period of four years, but the Senate wants to phase in the same cuts over a period of two years. See North_Carolina_NOW_Legislative_Update_5.28_May_2016 for more.
This year’s budget process began with both the House and the Senate agreeing to cap the budget at a little over $22 billion using a formula tied to population growth plus inflation instead of calculating what the citizens will need and figuring out how best to meet those needs. This formula also allows for reducing revenue by more tax cuts and not even spending all of the projected tax revenues (“leaving money on the table”).
This approach represents a triumph of ideology over reality and guarantees that many of the needs of North Carolina citizens will go unmet to keep budgets low and allow even more tax cuts. This issue and the damage being done are explored more deeply in this article: http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2016/05/05/north-carolina-deserves-better/.