Special Budget Edition: North Carolina General Assembly Week In Review - September 15, 2015

 
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On Monday afternoon, 76 days after the new fiscal year (FY) began, Speaker of the House Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) and President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) held a press conference to unveil the details of the new $21.7 billion spending agreement.

With the current continuing resolution (CR) set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, September 18, both chambers plan to vote on the measure this week. Speaker Moore and Sen. Berger stated at the press conference that they are hopeful that Governor Pat McCrory will sign the budget into law before the CR deadline passes.

The Senate is scheduled to take their first vote on the budget today, Tuesday, September 15, with the final vote on the budget taking place tomorrow, Wednesday, September 16. House rules require the chamber to release the document to the public 72 hours before taking a vote. The chamber plans to vote on the measure on Thursday, September 17, followed by a final vote on Friday, September 18. Speaker Moore stated on Monday that the chamber is considering taking the final vote early Friday morning, shortly after midnight. After receiving approval from both chambers, the budget will go to the Governor's desk for the final signature into law.

Additionally, it is expected that the legislature will be taking up the conference reports for HB 117, NC Competes Act, and the Medicaid reform bill, HB 372, next week. The conference report for HB 117 is expected to include several other economic development policies, including details of the revised Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) program.

See below for the highlights from each section of the state budget.

Agriculture & Natural Resources

Provides for $1 million in FY1 and $2 million in FY2 for tourism funding. Expands the well-drilling initiative for agriculture, AgWRAP. $500,000 for shale class exploration. Funds for dredging of the coastal inlets. $13.6 million for the Biotechnology Center. Protects the oyster industry. Prohibits oyster shells from being used in commercial landscaping. Economic Development & Taxes

$3 million for the OneNC Small Business Fund. $30 million for the Film and Entertainment Grant Fund. $2.5 million a year for Rural Economic Development Grants. Funds the Job Maintenance and Capital Development (JMAC) Fund. Expands the JDIG program. Reduces the personal income tax rate from 5.75% to 5.499% in 2017. Increases the 2016 standard deduction by $500, totaling $15,500 for married filers. Extends the historic...

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