Virus Outbreak North Carolina Session Opens

Lawmakers, some wearing masks, gather on the House floor as the North Carolina General Assembly opens a new session Tuesday, April 28, 2020, amid the current COVID-19 coronavirus stay-at-home restrictions in Raleigh, N.C.

(The Center Square) – Now 30 days into the new fiscal year, North Carolina lawmakers have yet to finalize a spending proposal for the current and following fiscal year.

The Senate approved its version of the multibillion budget on June 25, but the House must review the measure next. Both chambers must agree with the final version of the bill before they send it to the governor.

Each fiscal year starts July 1 and ends June 30 the following calendar year. Lawmakers must consider changes to recurring funding and one-time allocations for each year.

The Senate approved a plan to spend $25.7 billion from the general fund in fiscal 2022, $26.6 billion in fiscal 2023 and $5.1 billion in federal State Fiscal Recovery funds.

The House held one voting session this week that lasted little more than 13 minutes. The Senate did not review or vote on any legislation this week.

House Speaker Tim Moore, R- Cleveland, said Monday the House would take the week to review allocation requests and work on drafting the budget. He expects voting to resume as early as Tuesday.

"Next week, I think you'll see things move much more rapidly," Moore said.

North Carolina did not enact a full budget over the previous biennium because Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and Republicans, who hold the majority in the Legislature, could not agree on its contents.

The governor vetoed the budget in 2019 because lawmakers did not include a Medicaid expansion or a 9% pay raise for educators. The current proposal spends less than what Cooper recommended for the biennium. It also excludes bond investments and Medicaid expansion.

The Senate budget proposal includes a more than $600 million tax cut for North Carolinians and a 10-year, $12 billion cash infrastructure and capital plan. It also includes raises for state workers and bonuses for educators. It funds an expansion of one of the state's private school voucher programs and the creation of new public safety departments and divisions.

The House Appropriations Committee meets every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning. Tuesday's agenda was not published as of Friday evening. House Appropriations Committee Senior Chairman Rep. Dean Arp, R-Union, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

Staff Reporter

Nyamekye Daniel has been a journalist for five years. She was the managing editor for the South Florida Media Network and a staff writer for The Miami Times. Daniel's work has also appeared in the Sun-Sentinel, Miami Herald and The New York Times.