NC Senate Budget News
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Senate Budget Process

The state Senate released its budget proposal late Wednesday evening (5/28/14), and it is on a fast track to pass the chamber this week – after which it will be sent to the House for their suggested revisions.   

The Senate budget was heard today (Thursday, May 29) in the Senate Appropriations and Finance Committees where a number of amendments were proposed and some adopted (none directly related to our issues, however).  According to Sen. Tom Apodaca, powerful Rules chairman in the Senate, the first of two required floor votes on the budget will take place on Friday, May 29, and the second on Saturday just after midnight (the votes have to take place on two separate days). 

Preliminary Senate Budget Highlights
Subsidy Changes:
  • Subsidy eligibility is changed in the Senate budget from 75% of state median income for all children birth to 12 to the following:
    • Age 0-5 = 200% of Federal Poverty Level (FPL)
    • Age 6-13 = 133% of FPL
    • Child with special needs of any age = 200% of FPL 
  • Sliding scale for parent fees is gone and replaced with a flat 10% copay for all families.   
  • Co-payments shall not be pro-rated for part-time care.
  • Income Unit Re-defined to include a step-parent and step-parent’s child and non-parent relative caretaker and caretaker’s spouse and child when the parent of the child receiving subsidy is not living in the home with the child.
  • Provides funding to reduce the Child Care Subsidy waiting list by an estimated 3,200 children, though the funding comes from federal block grants instead of increased state appropriations. 
  • Funding source changes – The Senate budget replaces state General Fund appropriations with federal grant money. 
  • Subsidy re-allocations by DHHS – The following language was also included in the Senate budget: “Beginning with any funding reallocated in the 2013-2014 fiscal year, reallocated funds shall become part of a county’s allocation formula in future fiscal years and, beginning with the 2014-2015 fiscal year, shall apply to both increased and decreased allocations."
These changes, if implemented, could result in fewer school-age children being served and more dollars being applied for younger children.  They may also mean that fewer low-income working families receive assistance as funding is directed more toward families with incomes closer to poverty levels, although an analysis of the changes with those details has not been provided. 

NC Pre-K:
  • New funding for NC Pre-K:  Adds $5 million for 1,000 new slots.  This increase is nonrecurring, which means the money to keep these additional slots funded next year will have to be identified and appropriated again next year. 
Smart Start:
  • Smart Start funding appears to remain the same in the Senate budget.
  • Adds the $52 million subsidy spending requirement for Smart Start for TANF Maintenance of Effort, which is consistent with past years.
We have included links to the two pieces of the Senate budget proposal – feel free to review and give us any and all feedback on the budget Special Provisions and the budget Money Report.
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North Carolina Licensed Child Care Association
2801 Nash St. NW, Suite D, Wilson NC  27896
ph 252-234-5945   fax toll free 1-888-420-9699
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