State budget still in process
A pay raise for state employees is among the issues that remain unsettled as state lawmakers continue working on a budget for the 2015–16 fiscal year that began July 1.
North Carolina collected $400 million more from taxpayers than anticipated when the fiscal year ended on June 30, giving lawmakers more money to consider the possibility of pay raises.
The House proposal includes a 2 percent pay raise for SPA employees and an equivalent pool for EPA faculty and non-faculty plus an extra five days of bonus leave.
The Senate did not include a state pay raise in its plan.
The House and Senate are roughly $70 million apart in their proposals to fund higher education. The House proposal:
- Doubles the amount of funds unspent at the end of the fiscal year that can be carried over from 2.5 percent to 5 percent and
- Supports the Governor’s ”Innovation to Jobs” recommendations for research and commercialization.
The Senate proposal:
- Makes a smaller management flex cut, with fewer institutions exempted from the total reduction;
- Restores historic split of repairs and renovations funding between state government and universities to 50:50; and
- Contains preferred special provision language to allow universities to manage their own investments.
Both budget proposals fully fund enrollment growth and building reserves; however, Carolina is not slated to receive any funds from these two items.
The House approved its proposed bond package, providing just under $1 billion for strategic and targeted capital investments in the UNC System. The proposal supports the request to replace the Berryhill Medical Education building at the School of Medicine, Carolina’s top capital priority.
The replacement of Berryhill, built in 1970 – together with the completion of Marsico, BRIC and planned renovations of Mary Ellen Jones – will round out a facilities core that will set Carolina apart from other universities in terms of being able to leverage research dollars from the National Institutes of Health.
For now, the state is operating under a budget continuing resolution that expires Aug. 14 but could be extended.