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State Budget Released, To Pass Quickly

Samuel Gunter, Director of Policy and Advocacy

On Memorial Day evening, the North Carolina General Assembly released its budget proposal. After initial indications that the state would continue to grow it’s investment in affordable housing, the final budget includes no increased commitment. You can read the 267 page budget bill and the 481 page conference committee report on the General Assembly’s website. This budget should move very quickly, as they will hold no hearings and take no amendments. For context on the speed with which they are moving, you can read one of many articles written on the unprecedented nature of the budget process this legislative session. Debate on the budget should begin later this morning, with voting possible later this week.

No Increase for the Housing Trust Fund

There was some hope late in the process that the chairs of the Appropriations Committee were planning to slightly increase the Housing Trust Fund (HTF) appropriation in this budget round. Many of you responded quickly to the Housing Coalition’s request to call before the legislative session began as appropriators were in town and hashing out the details of the budget. Thank you for your dedication and prompt response. Unfortunately, that increase did not materialize. There was no change for either the HTF ($7.66m) or the Workforce Housing Loan Program ($20m). 

 

Disaster Recovery Package

The only new state money for housing was part of a new Hurricane Matthew Recovery package. The budget included $60 million for the State Emergency Response and Disaster Relief Reserve. You can see the breakdown of that money below:

  • $14.5 million for a federal match;
  • Risk Mitigation funds;
    • $3.6 million to Department of Environmental Quality for landslide mapping;
    • $250,000 to Department of Public Safety Division of Emergency Management (DEM) for 2-1-1;
    • $2.8 million to DEM flood warning system;
    • $2.3 million to DEM for search and rescue program;
    • $700,000 to DACS for Forest Service emergency response; and
    • $100,000 to DEM to connect the Stanly County airport as part of emergency response.
  • $10 million to Golden L.E.A.F. for infrastructure, which includes the “repair/replacement of existing tangible personal property” and “the development of new residential structures in areas outside the 100-year floodplain;”
  • $700,000 to the Office of State Budget and Management for Princeville and Fair Bluff to manage disaster relief funding;
  • $25 million to DEM for Housing
    • Housing elevation, acquisition, and mitigation reconstruction for homes not covered by Hazard.Mitigation Grant Program;
    • State Acquisition Relocation funds that allow low- and moderate-income homeowners to purchase homes; and
    • Flood insurance subsidies.

In addition to the appropriation, the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee amended the Program Evaluation Division work plan to include implementation of disaster recovery and use of all state and federal money. The report is due by March 15, 2019. 

 

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