A breakdown of the recently passed NC state budget.
While the nation was biting their nails watching Congress narrowly miss a government shutdown, the NC Legislature finally passed a state budget on Sept. 22 after the previous one expired June 30.
Gov. Roy Cooper allowed the budget to become law without his signature, noting in a statement that the new plan is a “bad budget that seriously shortchanges our schools, prioritizes power grabs, keeps shady backroom deals secret and blatantly violates the Constitution.” Despite his disapproval, Gov. Cooper says the Medicaid expansion included in the budget was long overdue and, as such, he didn’t want to hold out on NC residents in need of health care any longer.
The budget, or HB 259, directs ~$29.7 billion to be spent this fiscal year, with ~$30.8 billion on the docket for next year. Here, we unpack what the government has planned for your money.
- The budget includes plans to reduce the current personal income rate of 4.75% to 4.25% by 2025, with the potential of dropping it lower to 2.49% if revenue collection goals are met. For specific corporations, the budget lowers the franchise tax, or fees required to do business.
- The budget advocates for single-use plastics by disallowing any county from “restricting; taxing; charging a fee; prohibiting; or otherwise regulating the use, disposition or sale of an auxiliary container.” Individual businesses may still opt for environmentally friendly alternatives, but counties and cities may not enforce any regulations. To wit, both Asheville and Durham were previously considering plastic bag bans/fees.
- The budget designated $250 million for the Opportunity Scholarship Reserve, which ends income restrictions for students to private schools, no longer specifying a qualifying income level or previous attendance at a public school. Translation: This change allows the highest income families to receive funding equal to 45% of the amount poorest families are awarded.
- Any state, city or county agency is banned from firing any employee due to not being vaccinated against COVID-19.
- Although the legalization of nontribal casinos was considered for inclusion in the budget, the decision was ultimately postponed until Spring 2024 to prevent further delay.