NC General Assembly deliberates NCSSM budget, pandemic impacts

The 2020 legislative session is off to a fast start and will likely conclude prior to July 4. Legislators are very focused on developing a budget for the coming year that addresses pandemic needs and strategic priorities despite projected revenue shortfalls. NCSSM is fortunate to be positioned as a strategic priority in statements by the UNC Board of Governors and the NC Senate. We are also well positioned in the NC House.

Budget legislation of importance to NCSSM includes:

NC House Bill 1136: Funds for the NCSSM-Morganton Campus

NC Senate Bill 783: Funds for the NCSSM-Morganton Campus

NC Senate Bill 814: Funds for NCSSM-Morganton Campus/FY 2020-2021

We are particularly grateful to NC State House Representative Hugh Blackwell and Senator Ralph Hise ’94, who have spearheaded the introduction of companion bills H1136 and S783. Both bills have garnered co-sponsors and are receiving bipartisan support. These bills propose our revised expansion budget operating request for NCSSM-Morganton for $3.34 million, which, compared to our original request, avoids nearly $1 million in biennium expenditures, provides for more budget certainty as we approach 2021-2023 biennium, and is calibrated to opening for residential enrollment in fall of 2022 (rather than fall of 2021).

We are also grateful to Senate Appropriations Chairs Harry Brown, Kathy Harrington and Brent Jackson for filing S814 as a placeholder for NCSSM-Morganton funding consistent with the strategic priorities stated in this press release by Senate Republicans. As the session progresses, we look forward to explaining how the funding approach detailed in H1136 and S783 is the best fit for the institution and the current economic climate.

We are also monitoring other budget developments such as the UNC Tuition Grant for NCSSM Graduates (see more information), discussions of capital appropriations for repairs and renovations and new construction, development of any bond issue, and, of course, the possibility of budget reductions caused by pandemic-related revenue shortfalls.