Under the Dome

NC House budget spends less than Senate, saves more state jobs

House Republicans have proposed a $20.57 billion budget that its leaders expect to approve this week.

The budget, released late Sunday night, is slightly less than the Senate’s proposal but the two chambers are divided on how to spend the money. Those differences were evident when budget details were presented in House committees on Friday.

One new detail of the two-year spending plan unveiled Sunday: The House cuts about 738 state jobs, about half the 1,495 the Senate would cut.

Once the budget is approved, it will be sent to the Senate and negotiators from each chamber will work out the differences between the proposals. The Senate passed its $20.6 billion budget last month The new budget year begins July. 1.

As legislators settle on a budget this year, they must also to agree on a new tax code. A new tax law will determine how much revenue the state can expect to collect.

The House budget figures that a reduction in tax revenues from changes to the tax code will cost the state $38.5 million in revenue the first year and $381.1 million in the second budget year. Repealing the estate tax will cost $52 million in the first year and $57 million in the second year.

The Senate left room in its budget for tax changes that would cost the state $217.1 million in the first year and $553.1 million in the second year.

Gov. Pat McCrory has said he prefers the House tax plan over the Senate’s proposal. The House proposed budget also reflects more of McCrory’s priorities.

Like McCrory’s budget, the House included $10 million to compensate victims of the state’s eugenics program, setting up another battle with the Senate over the issue. Compensation for victims was excluded from this year’s budget when Senate Republicans refused to include it.

The House and Senate budgets also differ on education, health and economic development policies.

House Republicans have proposed a new higher education initiative that would divert some of the least qualified UNC system freshman to community colleges. After two years, the student would be guaranteed admission to the four-year school he or she would have originally attended. The program is not included in the Senate budget.

The House has tuition increases for out-of-state students similar to those McCrory proposed. The Senate did not increase tuition.


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