Brooks Pierce Capital Dispatch: Updates from CN General Assembly and Governor’s Office – June 2021 # 3 | Brooks pierce
[co-authors: Katelyn Kingsbury and Drew Moretz, Government Relations Advisors]
This week, lawmakers continued to work on the budget bill and considered other bills on various topics.
New Consensus on Revenue Forecast / State Budget Bill
Economists in the Bureau of State Budget and Management and the General Assembly’s Fiscal Research Division this week announced an updated consensus revenue forecast for the next two fiscal years. These figures provide important guidance to the Governor and the General Assembly as they draft a new budget bill for the biennium.
The new forecasts show significant growth in state tax revenues compared to previous projections. It projects that $ 60.4 billion in revenue will be available for the biennium ($ 29.7 billion in fiscal year 2022 and $ 30.7 billion in fiscal year 2023). The combined effect of the upward revisions to the February consensus forecast for the current year and the next biennium adds $ 6.5 billion to the total availability of the General Fund through FY2023. ‘does not include funds received from the US federal bailout.
Ahead of the release of the new forecast, House and Senate leaders announced an agreement on state budget spending ceilings for fiscal years 2022 and 2023. They propose spending $ 25.7 billion over the course of the year. ‘Fiscal Year 2022 and $ 26.7 billion in FY2023. Both figures are lower than proposed by Governor Roy Cooper, but these are increases over spending for FY2021.
News reports indicate that the Senate version of the budget bill will be released the week of June 21 and that after Senate approval, the bill will be sent to the House. It is therefore unlikely that a new budget bill will be enacted by July 1, at the start of fiscal 2022. Without a new budget bill, state government operations will continue with expenditures at recurring funding levels from the previous year.
Similar bills “Regulatory Sandbox Act” (S 470, H 624) were passed by the Senate and House this week. Both Houses will now work to resolve the discrepancies between the bills. The bills create a new North Carolina Innovation Council that would be authorized to select individuals or entities interested in providing banking, financial or insurance products or services to consumers using new or emerging technology. Those selected would participate in the program for an initial period of 24 months under the supervision of either the Office of the Banking Commissioner or the Department of Insurance. The oversight body would have the power to waive legal or regulatory requirements that would otherwise not allow a participant to offer the product or service to consumers.
A bill (H 951) that would significantly change state laws governing power generation and tariff setting was discussed this week in the House Energy and Public Utilities Committee. Among other things, the bill adjusts the decommissioning schedule for certain coal-fired power plants, describes the competitive supply of renewable energy resources, and allows the North Carolina Utilities Commission to use multi-year pricing. A vote on the bill in committee could take place as early as next week. Governor Cooper said in a statement that he did not support the current version of the bill.
Personal files of government employees
The Senate this week passed a bill (H 64) that would make the personnel records of North Carolina government employees more public. It would expand public access to a general description of the reasons for each personnel action taken by some government employers to include any demotion, transfer, suspension, separation and termination of employees, in addition to each promotion. If enacted, it would come into effect on December 31, 2021. The bill is supported by the North Carolina Press Association. Opponents include the State Employees Association and the North Carolina Association of Educators.