NC Legislative Update

by Cady Thomas

Activity Updates

The NC General Assembly returns for the short session on May 18th. No votes are expected to be taken until the following week.

Bills and Legislation

State Budget Process

In the first year of each legislative biennium, the budget sets a two-year spending plan. In the short session, they make adjustments and additions based on new revenue numbers, state needs, and legislative priorities. The process always begins with the governor introducing his priorities in a budget that is presented to the NC General Assembly. Then the two bodies pass their versions of a budget. Ultimately, the bill will go through a conference committee process with negotiations with legislators of the minority party and the governor.

If all the players cannot agree to a budget, and the NCGA does not have enough votes to override a veto, the NCGA can pass bills to address sections of the budget. Last year was the first time a budget has been signed by Governor Cooper since he took office. It is anticipated that this may be the way budget adjustments are done this session.

Governor Cooper’s Budget

Last week, Governor Cooper released his budget recommendations for the next fiscal year. He has proposed spending most of the projected $6.2 billion surplus on various budget items, including building construction, education spending, housing, worker retention, pay raises for state employees, and medicaid expansion.

Specific proposals in his spending plan can be found here. Some highlights include:

  • $131.5 million to support site development and provide related infrastructure to attract major employers and $31.5 million to enhance statewide support for small businesses;

  • $75 million into new and existing workforce development programs and pilots.

  • $525.8 million to be distributed to North Carolina’s public schools to develop a skilled educator pipeline, expand access to early childhood education and address other needs;

  • Additional 2.5% raises for teachers and most state employees over each of the next two years, giving them a 5% raise this fiscal year and a 7.5% raise over the biennium;

  • Additional $3,000 bonus for educators and school administrators next year;

  • Restores master’s degree pay for teachers.

  • $140 million for clean energy and environmental needs, with $95 million for natural and working lands, $22 million for clean transportation projects, $15 million to address environmental justice, $11 million to expand clean energy access and adoption and $1.9 million to enhance energy efficiency statewide.

  • Expands Medicaid;

  • Allocates $45 million to address shortages in the state’s health care workforce by expanding training capacity in the UNC System, community colleges and private colleges and universities.

  • Apportions $189 million to meet the state’s housing needs, including $50 million in down-payment assistance for first-time homebuyers who are educators, first responders and law enforcement officers.

  • $38.7 million to enhance community and school safety statewide, with $10 million for body camera grants and $20 million for school safety and mental health training grants.

  • $1 billion for State Capital and Infrastructure Fund for construction projects.

Governor Cooper’s budget does not include any tax cuts or allocation of the increased revenue to the “rainy day fund” which are two priorities of the leaders of the NCGA.


Numbers as of May 11, 2022:

  • 2,691,805 total cases

  • 24,588 deaths

  • 437 people – 7 day average of those hospitalized

  • 72% of adult population fully vaccinated, 62% of total population fully vaccinated

Other Important Items

Revenue Forecast

On May 9th the Fiscal Division of the NCGA and the Office of State Budget and Management  released their updated revenue forecast which shows an increase in revenue of $4.24 billion more than estimated. This almost 15% increase brings overall revenue to more than $32.65 billion this fiscal year.

The report does caution of “an elevated risk of recession during the forecast period given geopolitical uncertainty and evolving monetary policy by the Federal Reserve to address high inflation.”

Key points from the report:

  • Inflation will remain elevated but will decelerate during the next fiscal year.

  • Consumer spending direction is unclear.

  • Revenue for the next fiscal year will increase by 6.8% or $1.9 billion.

  • Increased revenue of $4.2 billion for the current fiscal year.

NCGA leaders, Speaker Moore and Senate Leader Berger released a joint statement stating “Today’s forecast highlights the General Assembly’s winning formula of low taxes, reasonable regulations, and responsible spending. Our state continues to experience growth and record-breaking economic development coupled with regular revenue surpluses.”

Election News

Primary Election

The Primary Election will be held May 17, 2022. Make sure to have your voice heard! Find your sample ballot here and your voting location here.

Read more about how the primary election will shape the next General Assembly make-up.