By Cady Thomas
Once again, NC is exceeding expectations in revenue growth. According to the state budget office and the Legislative Fiscal Research Divisions, 2022 revenues were $1.2 billion above the target as of November 30. This is a 10% increase in expectations amid fears of a recession.
Congressional Appropriations Bill
Just before the end of the year, Congress passed the 2023 Appropriations bill precluding a government shutdown. While the $1.7 Trillion package has a great deal of funding, the Department of Transportation highlights are:
$800 million for National Infrastructure Investments (RAISE/TIGER/BUILD) and an additional $25 million is included for Thriving Communities.
$3.4 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration, including $560 million for the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements program, and $100 million for the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail grant program, in addition to $7.2 billion in FY2023 advance appropriations.
$16.9 billion for the Federal Transit Administration, including $13.6 billion for Transit Formula Grants, $2.6 billion for Capital Investment Grants ($387 million above fiscal year 2022), and $542 million for Transit Infrastructure Grants and projects.
$62.9 billion for the Federal Highway Administration and $3.4 billion for Highway Infrastructure Programs and projects.
$19 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), $564 million above fiscal year 2022, including $1.6 billion for Aviation Safety and $558.6 million for Airport Improvement Grants and projects.
A full summary can be found here.
Bills and Legislation
Governor Cooper is gearing up for a fight with the NC General Assembly which has a supermajority in the Senate and is just one vote shy in the House. He has vowed to work against an agenda of abortion bills and “business-killing culture war”, the latter presumably a reference to HB 2 aka The Bathroom Bill.
Cooper also says he is not done with “public service” though he did not specify what his next steps will be when his term is done in 2 years.
Numbers as of December 21, 2022:
3,316,814 total cases
843 people – 7 day average of those hospitalized
73% of adult population fully vaccinated, 63% of total population fully vaccinated
NC Auditor Beth Woods released a report regarding the unspent COVID funds. Among others, the report found the following was unspent:
$1.6 Billion for the Department of Environmental Quality for water and sewer infrastructure;
$734 Million for broadband grants through the Department of Information Technology; and
$30 Million for the state’s food banks.
2024 in Underway!
Yes, we are already talking about who is running for what in 2024. While there is a lot of attention at the national level, things in NC are also getting heated. In the race for an open position of Labor Commissioner, Republican Representatives Ben Moss of Richmond County and Jon Hardister of Guilford County are likely in the race.
New polling from the GOP in the race for Governor so current Lt. Governor Mark Robinson with a huge advantage over all other names. While the Democrat’s side seems set to back current Attorney General Josh Stein. But it is early and everything could change. More on this here.
Other Important Items
In November, the unemployment rate rose for the fourth consecutive month to 3.9% from 3.8%. The US rate was unchanged at 3.7%.