After some delay, North Carolina Senate leadership released their 2021–22 spending plan
yesterday-the first step in what is anticipated to be a weeks-long negotiation process with the NC House of Representatives. The $25.7 billion spending plan comes at a time when the state has a particularly positive economic outlook-an unexpected $6.5 billion in revenue to be collected over the next four years, as well as $5.1 billion in federal funds for COVID-19 response.
A number of budget items are of interest to counties, in particular, the following related to NCACC's legislative goals:
- Nearly $700 million investment in broadband for unserved communities;
- $1 billion for water/wastewater grants and other assistance related to water infrastructure;
- Additional appropriations to the Needs-Based School Capital Fund;
- $2.1 million increase for child welfare workers in county departments of social services; and
- Funds to the NCACC, NC League of Municipalities and the NC Councils of Government to provide technical assistance to local governments in spending ARP funds.
NCACC's weekly communication will include a more detailed breakdown of the budget after the bill moves through committees, and amendments are considered. A Senate floor vote is expected later this week.