The North Carolina Senate’s budget recommendations for FY 2010-11 include several large increases for the Department of Natural and Economic Resources (NER), most of which would be one-time “nonrecurring” expansions.
The focus of the proposed NER budget is on economic development, with large amounts of taxpayer dollars going to the One North Carolina Fund, Lab-to-Market Funding/Commercialization, Regional Economic Development Commissions, and Home Grown Jobs.
The Senate’s economic development plans do differ from Gov. Perdue’s plans in several key areas. The Senate does not include Perdue’s “Back-to-Work” fund, which would fund a program to send $1,000 checks to businesses that that hire long-term unemployed workers who stay with the company for 3 months or more. Furthermore, the Senate does not call for a $2 million expansion to the Main St. Solutions program as the Governor did. Instead, the Senate plan provides funds for the Lab-to-Market/Commercialization program outlined below.
Significant expansions and reductions include:
- $15 million to the One North Carolina Fund, in agreement with the Governor’s proposal
- $12 million to Lab-to-Market Funds/Commercialization: “Providing funding for lab-to-market initiatives aimed at improving commercialization of products.” These initiatives would go to technology development companies to expedite the process of getting new products on the market. $300,000 of this would go to smaller universities for the same purpose
- $3.1 million to “Homegrown Jobs,” the same amount offered in the Governor’s proposal. This money would be allocated to the NC Rural Economic Development Center for their building reuse and restoration program in rural communities
- $5 million to Regional Economic Development Commissions, roughly twice the expansion called for by Perdue
- $108,000 from eliminating “Adopt-a-trail” program: in agreement with the Governor’s plan
- $1,885,372 from cutting IT costs from various departments
- $1,802,601 from cutting Operating Costs from various departments
- $800,000 from transferring the Executive Aircraft Division within the Department of Commerce to the Aviation Division within the Department of Transportation. The transfer was recommended by the Program Evaluation Division’s Study of State Aircraft