A few of the major highlights/lowlights:
- The bill spends $18.56 billion of state money, plus roughly $1.3 billion in federal stimulus funds, for a total of $19.56 billion – which would make it the third largest budget in state history, down from the estimated $20.3 billion that will be spent in the current fiscal year
- Helping to finance the spending is the much-discussed $784 million tax hike, new and increased fees of $81 million, $60 million in projected revenue from "Department of Revenue Improved Enforcement," $66 million from the cash balances of the Capital and Repair & Reserve Funds, $92 million from unidentified "special funds," and $5 million each from the Health and Wellness and Tobacco Trust Funds (but Golden LEAF remains untouched)
- $672 million is required to pay down the state debt. State debt has more than doubled since 2001, with most new debt being authorized between FY03-04 and 08-09 without voter approval while the state government enjoyed billions in revenue surpluses. If lawmakers had opted a pay-as-you-go method of financing all projects, the debt service obligation would be hundreds of millions less – drastically easing the budgetary stress right now. In essence, the tax hikes now being considered can be largely attributable to the irresponsible and unaccountable borrowing over the last several years.
A more detailed summary of the budget plan will be forthcoming within the next couple of days at www.nccivitas.org.