After holding a one-day session in Raleigh on Jan. 14, North Carolina Legislators have left town and will return on April 28.
An impasse over the budget bill (H966) was not resolved this week as the Senate did not seek to override Governor Roy Cooper’s veto. The House overrode the veto on Sept. 11, 2019.
Funding for a variety of State-funded programs and initiatives continues pursuant to State law extending most appropriations at the FY19 level and after enactment in late 2019 of 17 topic-specific “mini-budget” bills.
Unresolved appropriations issues include educator salary increases (the Senate this week failed to override the Governor’s veto of S354 on this topic), funds for the Department of Information Technology and some technology projects, and funds to implement the State’s move to Medicaid managed care.
Legislators passed and sent to the Governor a bill (S560) that funds a scholarship program for children of wartime veterans. A bill (S622) to reduce the threshold amount for medical expense deductions passed the House but was not considered by the Senate. The Senate failed to override Governor Cooper’s veto of S553, the Regulatory Reform Act of 2019.
When Legislators return on April 28, they will be in the so-called “short” session held in even-numbered years and which traditionally has focused on adjusting the second year of a two-year budget. Since no budget bill was enacted for the first year of the biennium (FY20), it is uncertain whether the General Assembly will craft a budget bill for FY21 or continue spending under the FY19 levels and mini-budget bills enacted up to this point.
In addition, Legislators may consider some tax bills in April that have not been passed. One is S578, which would reduce the franchise tax rate for businesses and expand the Film and Entertainment Grant Fund. Governor Cooper vetoed this bill, which passed largely on party lines. Another bill, H74, which would provide a tax refund to most individual tax payers, has passed the Senate and is pending in the House Finance Committee.