See our Legislative Status page for information on particular bills in front of the NC Legislature, but here’s an update from on the other “piece of the puzzle” – the state budget.
BUDGET NOTES The House budget is for $20.3 billion; that is up $1.4 billion (7.5%) from the last fiscal yearâ€™s budget. The budget includes enough revenue to avoid cuts to existing programs for children and the addition of some exciting new programs. The House created two new programs at the top of Action for Children NCâ€™s agenda, NC Kidsâ€™ Care health insurance and a State Earned Income Tax Credit! House priorities regarding children and families were clearly in public education, health care and tax fairness. The House also put substantial amounts into savings for a rainy day (such as following a hurricane), Medicaid relief for counties and pay raises for teachers and state employees â€“ all of which contribute to a better state infrastructure. One area of disappointment is in mental health, developmental disabilities and substance abuse, where program cuts nearly equaled new spending.
Some 2007 House Budget Highlights (This has passed the House and now goes to the Senate)
Funding for Health and Human Services included:
Full funding for the new Kidsâ€™ Care health insurance program;
Full Funding for NC Health Choice health insurance program;
2,000 new child care subsidy slots;
$1.1 million first year and $5.5 million second year for Smart Start;
$4 million for 80 additional school nurses;
Funding for pediatric diabetes education and prevention;
Creation of a new program to meet post-secondary education needs of foster youth in NC community colleges or universities;
Expanded Medicaid eligibility for Foster Care youth 18, 19 and 20 years of age;
200 additional slots for Community Alternatives Program for Mental Retardation/Developmental Disability (CAP MR/DD);
$2.75 million for grants from the Community-Focused Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative to community-based health providers; and
$7.5 million for building independent and supportive living housing for people with disabilities and $3.5 million to operate it.
A 5% Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income working families with children. Continuation of the Adoption Tax Credit.
Funding highlights for Public Education:
$20 million additional for the Disadvantaged Student Supplemental Fund (DSSF);
$7 million in new dropout prevention grants;
Start-up funds for 12 new Learn and Earn high school sites;
$5 million more for educating students with disabilities bringing the total to $3,186.57 per student with identified disabilities;
$1 million more for 27 school systems in small counties;
60 new school-based literacy coaches for middle schools; and
Funding for 1 new state-level position to coordinate Positive Behavioral Program efforts in NC schools.
Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (this includes all new DJJDP spending):
No New money was allocated to the JCPCâ€™s, the local councils that coordinate local community services to turn around the lives of children in the juvenile justice system;
1.7 million for Eckerd Wilderness camps to increase the daily reimbursement rate per bed; and
$100,000 to provide scholarships to former Youth Development Center students so they can attend community college.