The House Finance Committee approved a package of almost $100 million in new or higher fees. That’s the last bit of business on the House budget as the package heads back to the House Appropriations Committtee. That panel will begin debating the whole budget Wednesday and will vote on it either then or on Thursday. A spokesman for Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis said the entire budget would then be available online over weekend before a vote on the House floor next week.
In the Finance package many court fees would be increased. Community colleges would be allowed to charge a fee of about $25 for GED tests and re-testing. That fee now is $7.50 but there is no fee for re-testing. There would also be a tuition to access Virtual Public Schools for out-of-state, private school or home schooled students. The budget would also require tolls on all ferries. Some of the revenue would be transferred to the General Fund while most of it would stay in the agency running the program.
Democrats claimed they were all new taxes. House Democratic Majority Leader Joe Hackney said the court fees would hurt the distressed and poor. He called it the wrong approach.
House Speaker Tillis said the fee package would have those dealing with the courts or state programs support the cost rather than having all taxpayers subsidize programs that never affect them. He said it would also allow lawmakers to cut more taxes.