Now that both the House and Senate have released their proposed budgets, the budget conferees having been working hard to finalize their compromise. The budget conference report is expected to be released this week. The final budget will almost certainly be vetoed by the Governor Cooper if Medicaid expansion is not included – and, it’s not. While the Senate could likely override a veto, the House needs six Democrat votes to override Cooper’s veto, which will be a challenge. Unlike Congress, if North Carolina does not have budget by June 30th, recurring budget items from the last term are automatically funded. However, if the NCGA is unable to override the Governor’s veto, we’ll probably see separate budget bills surface to address different issues that were included in the NCGA’s budget. Thus, the legislature could remain in session for several more months.
Budget items being negotiated by the Senate and House leadership include:
• Community College Capital Projects ($44M)
• Public School Capital Projects ($1.67B over 10 years, first year $145M)
• No school construction bonds
• Spot Mobility Program that give the traffic engineer at DOT 40% of Mobility Fund money for small projects that will reduce traffic congestion
• Creation of Transportation Emergency Reserve in Highway Fund to ensure funding for projects arising from natural disasters
• Franchise Tax Reduction of $102M the first year
Bills of Interest – Recent Action
HB 675 2019 Building Code Regulatory Reform makes various changes and clarifications to building code statutes – CRMCA Board is considering a possible amendment to address improper testing of concrete
HB 241 Education Bond Act of 2019 would, if approved by NC voters, provide $1.5 billion in capital funding to K-12 schools, $200 million to community colleges, and $200 million to the UNC system. It passed the House and is sitting in Senate Rules. The Senate promises it will never be heard.
SB 86 Small Business Healthcare Act would enable association health plans to be offered to help reduce health insurance costs for smaller employers. The bill passed the Senate and the House is expected to debate it in next couple weeks.