On Sunday night, June 9, the House released its own version of the state budget for FY2013-15. Although the plan proposes increasing overall spending, certain key investments will also see reductions this year. Additionally, the House plan envisions keeping spending at historic lows, well below pre-recession levels.
In the House’s $20.6 billion budget, overall spending will increase by 1.6 percent over the base budget—the amount of spending necessary to keep providing services at current levels. Most of these increases are driven by a 9 percent increase in the Health and Human Services area of the budget (which includes Medicaid and other health programs) and a 3.5 percent increase in the Natural and Economic Resources area of the budget (the portion that deals with economic development and environmental regulation).
Aside from these increases, however, the House plan envisions deep reductions in Public Education (1 percent), Community Colleges (2.4 percent), and the UNC System (5.5 percent). Unfortunately, these spending cuts come on top of historic disinvestment in these areas—spending is already significantly lower than the spending levels in place prior to the Great Recession in FY 2007-2008. Specifically, the House proposes funding levels that are down 6 percent for Public Education over the past five years, down 1 percent for Community Colleges, and down almost 11 percent for the UNC System. Taken together, overall spending across the entire state budget would drop by 9 percent from pre-recession levels under the House plan.