Governor's proposed 2014-15 budget adjustments

The Associated Press

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Highlights of adjustments in the $21 billion spending plan for the 2014-15 fiscal year unveiled Wednesday by Gov. Pat McCrory. Any monetary figures are adjustments to what the legislature already budgeted for the year in the two-year spending plan approved in July 2013.

PAY AND BENEFITS

— Set minimum state salary of $33,000 for teachers with zero to seven years' experience next year, equaling raises of 5.7 to 7.1 percent for returning teachers; raises of 2.8 percent to 4.3 percent for teachers with eight to 12 years' experience; raises of roughly 1.9 to 2.1 percent for teachers with at least 13 years' experience.

— Give most state employees a combined salary and benefit increase of $1,000 — $809 for salary and the rest toward their pension. Many state troopers, magistrates and court clerks will see experience-based increases, too.

— Provide 1.9 percent cost-of-living increase for state and public school retirees, at a cost of $70 million.

— Increase overall giving to the teachers and state employee pension of $7.2 million.

PUBLIC EDUCATION

— Use $9.8 million in North Carolina Education Lottery receipts to fund "Career Pathways" pilot program in which eight school districts will try out methods to reward and retain the highest-quality teachers based in part on student achievement and helping peers.

— Double textbook funding by $23.2 million by using lottery revenues.

— Restore $18.7 million to reinstate teacher salary supplements for teachers who have taken at least one course toward their master's degrees as of July 2013 and those who have received a master's degree and are teaching in their degree field at least 70 percent of their work time.

— Direct local school districts to pay for workers' compensation claims and tort liability claims arising from events occurring after July 1, saving state $10 million.

— Keep teacher assistant funding at 2013-14 levels, reducing projected funds needed by $19.8 million.

— Allow community colleges to retain money that would have been lost due to enrollment declines to fund campus programs for high-in-demand jobs. The enrollment decline — attributed largely to remedial education changes — saves $17.2 million.

— Charge military veterans who were stationed at North Carolina installations the in-state tuition rate at community colleges.

— Increase community college tuition by 50 cents per credit hour for in-state and out-of-state students, generating $2.1 million.

— Use $5 million in lottery funds to establish pilot scholarship program designed to give minimum $7,500 scholarships to military out-of-state veterans stationed partly at a North Carolina installation working toward their first bachelor's degree and who plan to establish North Carolina residency.

— Fund $2 million toward the state's $10 million contribution for the Next Generation Power Electronics Innovation Institution at North Carolina State University.

— Create pilot internship program to help connect 60 students at historically-black colleges to North Carolina-based companies.

— Direct the University of North Carolina system to locate $44 million in savings, with the system making decisions on the reductions. Six campuses and financial aid would be excluded from the cuts.

— Repeal provision that allows out-of-state students who received certain full academic scholarships to UNC system campuses to be considered in-state for tuition purposes, saving $9.3 million. About 450 students would receive the waiver this fall.

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES:

— Expand North Carolina Pre-Kindergarten by $3.6 million in lottery and general operating funds, shift other program funds to federal block grant funds.

— Spend $2.7 million to help hire 30 new positions to build effective monitoring of county child welfare agencies.

— Give $1 million for startup costs associated with the approval of a proposed Medicaid reform program.

— Require regional agencies that manage treatment of the mentally ill, substance abusers and developmentally disabled to pay assessment and better fund Medicaid services. A similar assessment from hospital providers also would be increased. The two combined could locate the state $74.6 million.

JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY

— Add 10 positions and equipment at Western Regional State Crime Lab in Asheville and provide one-time funding to reduce backlog of pending state lab toxicology cases.

— Restore some funds and 13 positions at the Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement.

— Transfer the animal welfare section from the Department of Agriculture to Department of Public Safety.

— Shift about 1,000 misdemeanor offenders sentenced to more than 180 days and DWI offenders to county jails. Counties volunteer to house the offenders for $40 per day plus other expenses.

NATURAL AND ECONOMIC RESOURCES

— Provide $1.2 million to hire 19 full-time positions within the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to increase regulatory efforts in three divisions, including a response to coal ash ponds.

— Fund $677,000 more to beef up the Division of Energy, Minerals and Land Resources to operate a shale gas program and to drill three holes to conduct drilling exploration activities.

— Reorganize Department of Commerce as a public-private partnership is created to handle economic recruitment, travel and tourism and other activities.

— Spend $500,000 on underage drinking prevention initiative by the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission.

TRANSPORATION

— Provide $43 million more to the Highway Fund for highway maintenance, road preservation and resurfacing.

— Increase by $58 million funds for the Highway Trust Fund's strategic prioritization program.

— Continue to modernize Division of Motor Vehicles customer experience.

OTHER STATE AGENCIES AND ACTIVITIES

— Reduce 2 percent of spending within the Governor's Office, or $103,000.

— Provide $3 million challenge grant to repair shell plating of the hull of the USS North Carolina docked in Wilmington.

— Increase money for motor fleet management by $11 million, or 26 percent, to replace up to 1,000 aging vehicles.

— Use fee against overdue tax bills to create secondary Department of Revenue call center in Guilford County.

— Transfer state employee appeals process from Office of Administrative Hearings to State Human Resources Commission.

— Add $7.9 million each to repair and renovation fund and rainy day reserve account.

— Match federal funds for renovations to Salisbury veterans' home.

— Spend $38 million on various capital projects not paid for with state taxpayer dollars.

— Reduce Job Development Investment Grant funds by $14 million to reflect cash flow needs.

— Set aside $50 million to address potential cost overruns in Medicaid program.

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Source: Office of the Governor, Office of State Management and Budget.

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