How the NC House and NC Senate budget proposals differ

Posted on June 10, 2014 

Here’s a look at how the House and the Senate budgets differ

K-12 education

• Teachers would see raises at an average 5 percent rather than the 11 percent in the Senate budget. School administrators would receive a 2 percent hike. Non-teachers and central office staffers would receive $1,000, the same amount as state Department of Public Instruction employees.

• Creates new $150,000 pilot program in Union County schools, the home of Rep. Craig Horn, the top House education budget writer, to create a teacher preparation model.

• Makes 1 percent cut to the Department of Public Instruction, as opposed to 30 percent in the Senate budget

• Gives a $300,000 grant to Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, a private advocacy organization for charter and private schools. It is designed to help develop charter schools in rural areas.

• Cuts $3 million to end funding of the Teaching Fellows program.

• Requires two epinephrine pens in each school in the state to help those with severe allergic reactions.

• Allows private schools receiving taxpayer voucher money to prohibit certain students based on gender, sexual orientation and religion.

• Creates a new grading system for public schools, making the school achievement scores worth 20 percent and school growth 80 percent, the mirror opposite of current practice. It also restructures the grading scale to make it easier for schools to receive higher grades.

Health and Human Services

• Keeps Medicaid eligibility for thousands of aged, blind, disabled and medically needy beneficiaries that the Senate would make ineligible.

• Keeps open the Wright School in Durham, a state school for children with severe emotional and mental disorders. The Senate budget closes the school.

• Creates a $117 million Medicaid reserve fund the state budget office would control. The Senate adds $206 million directly to the Medicaid budget to address increased enrollment and costs and to account for savings that were planned but not realized.

• Keeps the state Medicaid office in the state Department of Health and Human Services, unlike the Senate budget, which creates a new agency. But includes a provision that would have the legislature approve the appointment of a Medicaid director for a five-year term.

• Outlaws use of tanning beds by people younger than 18.

Transportation

• Calls for the elimination of all ferry tolls and setting aside $6 million to pay for replacement ferry vessels. The Senate would leave unchanged a provision in the 2013 Strategic Transportation Investments law, which leaves tolls in place on three ferry routes and gives local transportation planning boards the option to propose tolls on local ferry routes as a way to pay for ferry vessel replacement.

• Ignores a Senate proposal to increase the cap on the highway use tax collected by NCDOT on sales of commercial vehicles and recreational vehicles.

• Ignores a Senate proposal to halt the recurring state financial support for driver education classes in local schools. The Senate would have the legislature reconsider this funding, now $26 million, every year.

• Sets up a House oversight committee to review DOT’s progress on implementing the Strategic Transportation Investments law, a responsibility already given to the joint House-Senate Transportation Oversight Committee.

• Retains funding for NCDOT’s Economic Development Program, which the Senate would eliminate.

• Shifts $3.5 million in gasoline pump inspection fees to a state environmental program that helps property owners with cleanup costs related to leaking underground storage tanks. The Senate budget would pay these costs from the general fund.

Natural and Economic Resources

• Provides $250,000 compared withthe Senate’s $350,000 to continue the state’s broadband program for six months, after federal funding runs out at the end of this year.

• Provides $500,000 in funding the Research Triangle Institute compared withthe Senate’s $250,000.

• Spends $1.8 million on coal ash. The Senate proposes spending $1.75 million. Funding goes toward storm water research and inspection, dams inspection, and funding six positions in the Reserve for Coal Ash Management, water quality and waste management.

• Includes $1 million of funding in the Clean Water Management Trust Fund to support efforts to reduce polluted runoff.

• The House increases state employee annual pay and benefits by $1,236 compared with the Senate’s $1,000.

Staff writers Lynn Bonner, Bruce Siceloff, John Frank, and Katy Canada contributed.

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