Civitas Review

House Proposes Its Own Bond Referendum


Budget negotiations on Jones Street have been eerily quiet for weeks, but late yesterday came news that the N.C. House is offering up a $2.8 billion bond plan, mostly dedicated to infrastructure such as state gov't and university buildings. Per the N&O:

Republican leaders in the state House rolled out their own version of Gov. Pat McCrory’s bond proposal Monday, calling for more infrastructure spending than the governor’s plan.

The House plan mirrors McCrory’s proposal on borrowing numbers: Both feature about $2.8 billion in bonds, which would go before voters in a special November election aimed for timing at taking advantage of low interest rates.

But while the governor wants to split the bonds evenly between transportation and infrastructure projects, the House would direct $2.46 billion of bond money toward infrastructure and $400 million toward transportation.

The House's bond plan would differ from the $2.85 billion "Connect NC" bond proposal being heavily promoted by Gov. McCrory.

The list of bond projects the House wants to fund differs substantially from McCrory’s original list. House leaders want to increase the amount of bond money going toward education. The House would direct $900 million toward UNC system campuses, up from $500 million in the governor’s plan.

The House has added extra projects for the UNC system, including $58.8 million for a new western campus of the N.C. School of Science and Math, $68.8 million to replace a medical education building at UNC-Chapel Hill, and $124.5 million for a new life sciences and biotechnology building at East Carolina University.

And while McCrory’s bond package didn’t allocate bond money toward K-12 education, the House would put $500 million into a “public schools capital assistance program” to help fund new construction and renovations.

Moreover, the House proposes another $1.3 billion in transportation funding to be spent through budget allocations and not borrowing, whereas the Governor prefers to borrow money to fund transportation projects in his plan.

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