NC legislature's proposed budget for 2013-14

Jul. 23, 2013 @ 07:59 PM

Highlights of North Carolina's $20.6 billion budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year proposed by state House and Senate negotiators.

The document also sets spending and revenue rules for the 2014-15 year, but those will be altered by the General Assembly when it meets next year. According to budget documents, the spending plan would:— provide no pay raises for teachers or state employees, but they would receive an additional five vacation days.

— increase state retirement system contribution by $36 million for state employees, teachers.

— set aside $86.6 million this year and $437.8 million next year for tax cuts.

— eliminate the $376 million annual spending cut for local school districts in which they're expected to return a portion of money they've received as a cost-saving measure.

— cut $286 million this year and $246 million next year in funding for classroom teachers by revising teacher-student ratios.

— reduce funding for school bus replacement by $29.8 million this year and $39.1 million next year.

— spend $120 million this year and $110 million less on teacher assistants. The revised allotment for assistants in kindergarten through third grade will now cover assistants in kindergarten and first grade.

— raise community college tuition by $2.50 per hour for residents and nonresidents.

— continues the phase-out of the North Carolina Teaching Fellows program, which annually selected 500 promising high school seniors to receive four-year scholarships allowing them to graduate with little or no college debt in return for working in public schools for four years after graduation.

— direct $66 million in reductions this year across the University of North Carolina campus system, with cuts as determined by school leaders.

— spend $10 million next year for grants of up to $4,200 per year for students meeting income limited to attend private schools.

— shift $12.4 million from lottery receipts to add 2,500 North Carolina Pre-Kindergarten Program slots, raising the total available to 27,500.

— close minimum and medium-security adult prisons in Bladen, Duplin, Robeson, Wayne counties that contain more than 1,200 beds, close the 708-bed Western Youth Institution in Morganton for young offenders, and convert the Johnston Correctional Institution from a medium custody to a minimum custody prison in January. The change would eliminate more than 730 positions and save $24 million.

— close two juvenile detention centers in Buncombe and Richmond counties and the youth development center in Lenoir County, eliminating nearly 90 jobs and saving more than $5 million.

— provide funding for dozens of currently vacant state trooper positions, at a cost of $2.5 million.

— fund eight new state parole commission positions and 175 new probation officer positions to carry out 2011 Justice Reinvestment Act, at a cost of nearly $6.7 million.

— move the state crime laboratory and the state DNA Database and Databank from the State Bureau of Investigation but keep within the Justice Department. The lab would receive 19 new positions.

— cut three-state operated alcohol and drug abuse treatment centers by 12 percent, totaling nearly $5 million.

— provide another $434 million for increased Medicaid expenditures to continue the Medicaid program at current levels

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.