Who passed the budget and when was it passed? 

After more than three months of delays, Gov. Pat McCrory signed off on the $21.74 billion state budget Sept. 17.

The 429-page state budget and 207-page financial report is a product of many months of uncertainty, debates and negotiation between the House and the Senate. The ending House vote was 81-33.

What matters most about this budget?Some education changes include restoring annual funding for school districts for driver’s education programs and teachers’ assistants. The original Senate budget would have cut these items.

The budget also brings back a tax deduction for medical expenses, which is available for filers of all ages.

All state employees get a one-time $750 bonus with the new budget. The budget increases salaries for some state employees, including Highway Patrol Officers, correctional officers and community college workers.

The budget expands sales taxes to all repair, maintenance and service providers. It also includes more than $400 million in income tax cuts.

A $110 million cut was made from regional mental health support, creating a financial burden on the state’s eight regional mental health agencies. With the new budget, North Carolina residents will also pay higher Division of Motor Vehicle fees.

Why did this year’s budget take so long?

The spending plan, which was supposed to be passed by July 1, underwent the longest delay in budget passing since 2002.

The delay was primarily attributed to disputes over policy and spending. In July, it was reported in a state press conference that the Senate proposal differed over several areas from the budget plan the House passed. The Senate pushed for tax cuts while the House did not. Another area of disagreement, which included pay increases for state employees and teachers, called for smaller increases in Division of Motor Vehicles fees and fiscal health. 

Will budget changes affect Alamance County?

The plan restores historic preservation tax credits, which expired at the end of last year. This program helped spark redevelopment in Glencoe, Graham and Mebane, according to the Burlington Times-News.

What is a state budget anyway?

A state budget is a document that outlines the government’s proposed spending and revenues for a fiscal year. It also includes the prioritized list of capital improvement projects and projects financed by various revenue sources.

In other words, state budgets outline areas that may require significant spending, such as transportation, construction of highways and aid to localities. They indicate the amount of governmental spending directed to education systems, health systems and any other governmental municipalities.