Late last night (or early this morning, however you want to look at it) the NC House passed its budget plan for the next biennium. Dozens of amendments were debated, and 42 passed. Some of the relatively more significant changes made from the original version include:
- Several DMV fee increases were reduced from 50 percent to 30 percent
- Expansion of the tax deduction for medical expenses
- Elimination of the R&D tax credit
- The film production grant program was reduced from $60 mil per year to $40 mil
Overall, the plan would spend $22.16 billion. Current year actual spending is projected to come in at $20.85, so the spending plan would mark a 6.3% increase.
One of the Amendments passed approved $1 million of taxpayer dollars to fund refrigerators and shelving for small convenience stores in "food deserts" – a proposal that was featured as a Civitas Bad Bill of the Week. Another amendment that would have sunset the renewable energy tax credit was defeated.
Outside of the two exceptions noted above, all of the pork and cronyism noted in this Civitas blog post earlier this week remains in the budget passed by the House. Other additional items included in the final House budget plan worth mentioning include $367k in the UNC budget for a 4-H Camp in Columbia NC, and an additional $190k a year in Commerce for extra staffing to administer the historic preservation tax credit program. This last item is yet another hidden expense to taxpayers of crony programs of political privilege – the additional gov't workers require to administer the program.
The budget will move to the Senate next week where it is expected to undergo major revisions.