The $22.9 billion state budget proposed by the House for the upcoming 2018 fiscal year – and the $23.8 billion budget for the following year – reflects a missed opportunity to embrace smart public investments and prepare for federal uncertainty brought on by cost shifts in Medicaid and food assistance, among other core public program and service cuts to the state from the federal level.

The House budget fails to fully address the unanticipated damage from Hurricane Matthew, which is estimated at $2.8 billion, and fails to invest at the level needed in skills training, community economic development, and services to poor families, even as communities continue to struggle with mass job loss and high poverty rates. This is in part because House budget writers continue to reduce available revenue and fail to direct revenue coming in over anticipated collections towards smart public investments. Instead, those dollars are put in savings rather than used to address unmet needs in the first year of the two-year budget.