North Carolina budget writers have a window of roughly $300 million within which to negotiate the 2010-11 state budget. Where their final spending plan falls within that window will reveal a lot about their seriousness regarding fiscal restraint.
The state budget Conference Committee, comprised of lawmakers selected from both the state House and Senate, are currently attempting to iron out differences between the House and Senate budget proposals.
|Public Education||$7.078 B||$7.142 B|
|Community Colleges||$1.049 B||$1.063 B|
|UNC System||$2.558 B||$2.666 B|
|General Government||$436.7 M||$433.7 M|
|HHS||$3.97 B||$3.916 B|
|JPS||$2.117 B||$2.097 B|
|NER||$453.5 M||$452 M|
|Reserves/Debt Service||$1.2 B||$1.19 B|
|Capital||$9.13 M||$27.56 M|
|Total||$18.875 B||$18.99 B|
Simply put, if the Conference Committee chose the lower spending amount for each agency the total budget would be $293 million less than if they chose the higher amount for each agency.
Combining the House’s education and capital expenditure budget plans with the Senate’s proposal for General Government, Health and Human Services (HHS), Justice and Public Safety (JPS), Natural and Economic Resources (NER) and Reserves/Debt Service will produce a total budget of $18.79 billion.
Conversely, combining the highest spending total in each of those categories will total $19.08 billion.
|Lowest of Each Agency|
|Public Education||$7.078 B|
|Community Colleges||$1.049 B|
|UNC System||$2.558 B|
|General Government||$433.7 M|
|Reserves/Debt Service||$1.19 B|
|Highest of Each Agency|
|Public Education||$7.142 B|
|Community Colleges||$1.063 B|
|UNC System||$2.666 B|
|General Government||$436.7 M|
|Reserves/Debt Service||$1.2 B|
The $300 million window seems like a small amount relative to the overall budget. North Carolina’s elected officials, however, have an opportunity to make a big statement, depending on where in this window their final budget falls.
Let’s hope they choose wisely, because voters will be watching.