- Associated Press - Thursday, June 1, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Highlights of the $22.9 billion budget for North Carolina state government for the 2017-18 fiscal year tentatively approved Thursday by the state House. Unless otherwise noted, monetary figures reflect increases or reductions to base budget expenses or the amount of revenue generated or lost. The two-year budget bill also covers the 2018-19 fiscal year, but those provisions can be altered by the General Assembly when it meets next year.

PUBLIC EDUCATION

- teach an additional 9,120 students anticipated in the public schools this fall: $31.9 million.

- classroom textbooks and digital materials: $10.4 million.

- increase funding allotment in public schools for children with disabilities: $11.3 million.

- grants to expand vocational/career technical education for grades 6-7: $700,000.

- reduce central office administration staff funds for local school districts by 5.3 percent: -$5 million.

- modernize Department of Public Instruction business systems: $10 million.

- audit business processes of Department of Public Instruction: $1 million.

- fund up to ten positions in the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s office: $922,000.

- cover legal fees by Superintendent of Public Instruction’s office: $300,000.

- reimburse initial teacher licensure application fee for first-time applicants: $245,000.

- add funds to continue pilot program giving extra pay to teachers who take on additional teaching and mentoring responsibilities in schools: $8.2 million.

- reduce funding to North Carolina Education Endowment Fund for startup to reinstate N.C. Teaching Fellows Program: -$4.6 million.

- residential enrichment program for science, math and technology for three northeastern school districts and high school: $300,000.

- pay for 800 additional full-time equivalent students in the state community college system this fiscal year: $4.9 million.

- transfer state apprenticeship program from Department of Commerce to community college system: $1.4 million.

- expand NC Works Career Coaches, employed by community colleges to work with high school students: $1.1 million.

- cover potential costs related to state community college campus losses from declining enrollment due to Hurricane Matthew: $2.8 million.

- begin program to give scholarships to high-achieving community college students: $50,000.

- fund teaching and other items associated with 2 percent enrollment increase at University of North Carolina system schools this fall: $46.6 million.

- University of North Carolina operating budget reductions, with cuts determined by UNC Board of Governors: -$22 million.

- eliminate funding for recently created the NC Policy Collaboratory: -$1 million.

- eliminate planned tuition reduction to $2,500 per semester starting in 2018-19 for out-of-state students attending Elizabeth City State University, Western Carolina University and UNC-Pembroke. The $500 tuition for in-state students would remain.

- funds to continue stabilizing enrollment at Elizabeth City State University to hire temporary faculty and startup funds for aviation science program: $2.8 million.

- improve and modernize UNC system data collection on students and outcomes: $10 million.

- Food Processing Innovation Center on the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis: $5.1 million.

- funds to stabilize East Carolina University’s medical school: $4 million.

- faculty recruitment and retention funds for UNC system schools: $3 million.

- evaluate learning gains and losses for students receiving Opportunity Scholarships to attend private or parochial schools: $587,000.

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

- community and rural health center grants: $7.5 million.

- use $18.2 million in federal block grants through mid-2019 to serve additional 4,700 children in North Carolina Pre-Kindergarten program.

- increase Smart Start funds to improve access to books and reading through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and Reach Out and Read programs: $1.2 million.

- implement improvement plan for state child welfare system after a recent critical federal review: $8.7 million.

- increase reimbursement rate to care for residents in adult care homes: $4.4 million.

- adjust funding for services for mental health, substance abuse and developmental disabilities: -$37.4 million.

- increase smoking cessation programs: $500,000.

- youth smoking prevention programs: $2 million.

- cover state public health state laboratory budget deficit: $3 million.

- funds to Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship for related clinics to purchase medical equipment: $1.3 million.

- conduct project in Robeson and Columbus Counties to reduce pre-term births: $2.2 million.

- legal fees for Department of Health and Human Services with anticipated or pending litigation over delays in construction of new Broughton mental hospital in Morganton: $2.5 million.

- provide Medicaid funding to continue services at expected demands and use rates: $3.8 million.

- reinstate Medical graduate medical education program: $30 million.

- reduce Division of Medical Assistance funding, with cuts determined by agency: -$30 million.

AGRICULTURE, NATURAL AND ECONOMIC RESOURCES

- Tobacco Trust Fund, which provides grants to tobacco-related farms and businesses: $900,000.

- outside private legal counsel for state Agriculture Department to intervene in federal water rights litigation: $250,000.

- 8.4 percent funding reduction at Wildlife Resources Commission: -$950,000.

- create new Site and Building Development Fund, designed to help prepare sites to attract major manufacturing employers: $5.7 million.

- tourism and economic development advertising by the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina: $4.2 million.

- Carolina Small Business Development Fund, which gives small business loans and financial training to businesses and lending services to community organizations: $3 million.

- digitize historic publications held by the state: $185,000.

- Clean Water Management Trust Fund: $3.9 million.

- seven new positions for North Carolina Museum of Art and the museum’s new park: $2.5 million.

- four new positions at the North Carolina Museum of History: $258,000.

- Grassroots Arts and Rural Touring Arts grant programs: $675,000.

- Park and Recreation Trust Fund grants: $7 million.

- maintenance of state historic sites: $500,000.

JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY

- pilot program in Wilmington for quick response team to help opiate and heroin overdose victims lacking follow-up treatment: $250,000.

- create positions for 30 new state troopers: $3.1 million.

- State Bureau of Investigation equipment and surveillance tools: $1 million.

- eliminate funding for Department of Transportation litter crews and road squads: -$511,000.

- create 200-bed facility in Buncombe County for female offenders who are subject to jail time for violating the terms of their probation: $865,000.

- state crime laboratory equipment: $500,000.

- eliminate funding for emergency judges: -$195,000.

- hire 56 new deputy court clerk positions in districts having trouble meeting workloads: $2.7 million.

- create 37 new assistant district attorney positions across the state: $2.5 million.

- increase rate for private attorneys who represent indigent clients: $1 million.

TRANSPORTATION

- purchase 1,700 credit card readers for the Division of Motor Vehicles and License Plate Agency offices: $2.1 million.

- establish in Highway Fund a new fund to pay for construction projects that are immediately needed, including those related to economic development: $30 million.

- create in Highway Fund a new fund for highway construction needs on state- and city-maintained roads for new and expanded public schools: $25 million.

- loans and other financial assistance to governments, including toll authorities, to finance transportation projects: $50 million.

- build new Division of Motor Vehicles office in Charlotte: $1.4 million.

- capital improvements at commercial airports: $81.1 million.

- state ferry division construction and repairs: $6.8 million.

- expand Highway Fund’s contract road resurfacing: $40 million.

- pilot program for grants to charter schools for student transportation: $2.5 million.

- Global TransPark improvements, strategic plan: $992,000.

- increase Highway Trust Fund money toward strategic transportation projects that have ranked the best through the Department of Transportation scoring system: $139.7 million.

- create new State Ports Authority Fund within Highway Trust Fund to modernize ports: $45 million.

- remove limit on state matching funds toward light rail projects.

OTHER AGENCIES, SPENDING & RESERVES

- increase community investments in maintaining local military programs and activities: $2 million.

- increase the scholarship allowance for children of veterans killed or disabled during wartime: $1.4 million.

- hire five more fire inspectors and investigators for State Fire Marshal’s Office: $463,000.

- hire 30 new positions at the Department of Insurance to investigate insurance fraud: $2.4 million.

- use $23 million from Dorothea Dix property sale proceeds to set aside rural hospital beds in local psychiatric units and to develop mental health crisis centers for children.

- transfer state Human Relations Commission from the Department of Administration to the Office of Administrative Hearings, eliminates commission director’s position.

- use $3.9 million in legal settlement funds to develop low-income housing units.

- film and entertainment grant fund: $15 million.

- supplemental relief and recovery funds after Hurricane Matthew: $150 million.

- increase savings reserve: $363.9 million.

- repairs and renovations to state and university buildings: $365 million.

- new Fort Fisher state museum and visitor center: $5 million.

- new helipad for North Carolina National Guard: $1 million.

TAXES

- increase standard deduction for individual income tax filers by $500 to $1,000, depending on filing status.

- reduce franchise tax rate most corporations must pay.

- repeal privilege tax on mill machinery and some other manufacturing and industrial equipment.

- sales tax exemption for retail “fulfillment” centers and sales tax refund for small and rural research and development businesses.

SALARIES & BENEFITS

- average 3.3 percent raises for public school teachers with retention bonus for teachers with at least 27 years of experience; $1,000 raises for most state employees; create new salary schedules for principals and assistant principals; and other salary increases and bonuses: $391 million.

- five additional vacation days for state employees and teachers.

- contribute to state retirement and health insurance plans, including 1.6 percent bonus for state retirees: $144.1 million.

- boost salaries for state employee positions considered difficult to retain or recruit: $5 million.

POLICY PROPOSALS

- require arts education credit for high school graduation beginning with students entering sixth grade in 2018.

- numerous changes to publicly released school performance grades.

- create State Capital and Infrastructure Fund to pay for state construction projects with cash.

- direct State Board of Education to develop youth suicide awareness and prevention training program in public schools covering students in grades 6-12.

- remove two additional counties from the recently-reduced list of those counties where vehicles must undergo annual emissions inspections.

- allow 20 school districts to begin classes on the Monday closest to Aug. 10 during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years.

END


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