Much like the Senate’s Natural and Economic Resources (NER) Budget, the House NER Budget plan contains several large expansions that are “nonrecurring”, or one-time added expenditures. The House proposal reflects an astounding 9.8 percent expansion from last year’s authorized spending plan for 2010-11.
The primary focus of the House NER Budget expansions is on economic development, notably in the One North Carolina Fund, Main Street Solutions program, the Biotechnology Center, Homegrown Jobs, and the Regional Economic Development Commissions. There is also a significant expansion in the budget for the NC Biofuels Center.
In addition to these expenditures, the House Budget calls for nearly $11 million to be raided from special funds and moved to the General Fund. These special funds include the Mercury Pollution Prevention Fund, the Aquariums Fund, the Solid Waste Management Trust Fund, and the Wildlife Resources Commission.
There are several key differences between the House NER Budget and the Senate NER Budget. The Senate Budget did not include any of the provisions from special funds or the $2 million for Main Street Solutions that were proposed by the House. The House proposal would appropriate $9 million for the One North Carolina Fund, which is $6 million less than what the Senate budgeted. Also, the House did not include the $12 million appropriation for Lab-to-Market Funds/Commercialization that was included in the Senate NER Budget. Lab-to-Market Funds would go to technology development companies to expedite the process of getting new products on the market.
Significant expansions and reductions include:
- $9 million to the One North Carolina Fund
- $2 million to Main Street Solutions. This is one of the Governor’s new programs that provides grants to small business owners in downtown districts of small communities.
- $5 million to NC Biofuels Center
- $4.3 million to operating funds for the Biotechnology Center
- $3.1 million to Homegrown Jobs, as recommended in both the Governor’s and the Senate’s budget proposal. This provides additional funding for the Rural Center’s Building Reuse and Restoration program as well as funding for small-scale regional community development projects.
- $5 million to Regional Economic Development Commissions, this amount is equal to that called for in the Senate plan and roughly twice the expansion requested by Perdue.
- Operating Costs and Position Eliminations in most departments
- $1 million from the sale of Forest Resources Aircraft
- $2.5 million from the operating budget of NC Aquariums
- $800,000 from transferring the Executive Aircraft Division within the Department of Commerce to the Aviation Division within the Department of Transportation. This transfer was approved in the Senate Budget as well.