Old North State Report - June 2, 2017
This week’s action at the General Assembly was dominated by the House’s consideration of its version of the state budget. Many details of the spending plan were released last week but there were a few fits and starts in addition to dozens of proposed amendments. When all the process was finished, the House approved their spending plan with votes late Thursday night (by an 82-34 margin with support from 12 Democrats) and early Friday morning.
According to legislative staff estimates, the House tax cuts would reduce revenue by $122 million in the fiscal year beginning this July and $234 million in the following fiscal year. That's much less than the Senate tax cut package, which would reduce revenue by $324 million in the next fiscal year and more than $710 million in following year with the goal of spurring more economic growth. A summary of the House tax package can be found here:
While the overall size of the House budget ($22.9 billion) matches the Senate, there are differences in a few key areas beyond taxes, such as the size of pay increases for teachers and state employees. A number of the individual provisions in the bills can be considered “trade-bait,” as in “we know the other chamber wants this item so we won’t put it in our version and we can later agree to it if they add the pieces most important to us.”
Democrats were less critical of the House budget than the Senate’s version but said it still didn’t go far enough in meeting the state’s needs. Republicans responded by emphasizing the state’s economic growth, tax relief, and education spending under their leadership. A conference committee to resolve differences between the two chambers will likely be appointed next week. The latest publicly available version of the House budget (after the committee process but before a handful of adopted changes on the floor) is available here:
In other news, the Senate approved a measure (SB 155: “Economic & Job Growth for NC Distilleries”) which offers cities and counties the option of allowing local restaurants and bars to serve alcohol before noon (beginning at 10 am) on Sundays. A summary is available here:
It can be challenging to follow all the redistricting litigation in North Carolina. However, there was a potentially important development this week as the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order that sent a lawsuit filed by Democrats for another review by the North Carolina Supreme Count. With Democrats now holding a 5-4 edge on the state Supreme Court, the outcome might be different than in the past when a Republican majority upheld the current districts.
The articles published in this newsletter are intended only to provide general information on the subjects covered. The contents should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Readers should consult with legal counsel to obtain specific legal advice based on particular situations.