On April 25, 2016 the North Carolina General Assembly will come back to Raleigh and gavel in to start the legislative short session. The big task will be to make any needed or wanted changes to our state’s two year budget.
We get questions often about what the budget process is and what it takes to shape the bill that funds our critical state services. Our state’s current budget will end on June 30, 2016. A new budget is expected to start on July 2, 2016.
Getting to a final budget is a five step process:
Step 1. The Governor’s Budget proposal is released. The Governor of our state releases his/her funding plan and priorities. This budget reflects the vision of the Governor and includes key items that are brought to his attention by his cabinet secretaries. This budget is then presented to the members of the General Assembly for their review.
Step 2. One of the chambers begins the legislative budget process. This session the House starts with their budget priorities. You will see several rounds of meetings with the Health and Human Services Appropriation Committee, Education Appropriation Committee etc. Then each of the committees takes their budget items and presents them to what we call the “big appropriation” chairs. After many meetings and discussion the House will present its budget. The House budget will be voted on and sent to the Senate.
Step 3. The Senate will then make its own budget with its own priorities. The Senate will then hold its own series of meetings and then present its completed budget. The Senate will then vote on the budget and send it back to the House.
Step 4. Budget conference committee gets named. This committee will have Senate and House members. They will take parts of the Governor budget, parts of the House budget and parts of the Senate budget to create a final state budget.
Step 5. When the final budget is completed it gets a final House and Senate vote and then heads to the Governor for his/her signature or veto.
The Arc of North Carolina will be following all the debates and discussion around the budget and we encourage you to follow along with us!