State Budget

JUST RELEASED: Comparing the House and Senate Budgets

The state Senate gave final approval to its two-year spending plan this week, which is nearly a month after the House approved its budget. Next, each chamber will select respective leaders to negotiate in “conference” to iron out differences between the two budget proposals. The final budget agreement will head back to each chamber for a final vote before it is sent off to the Governor’s desk. Click on the image below for comparison chart of how the House budget differs from the Senate budget across core public priorities such as education, public health, public safety, and vibrant communities.

JUST RELEASED: Policy Basic on North Carolina's Budget Calendar

A BTC new policy basic explains the state budget calendar and process as well as informs advocates of the opportunity points that exist during the process so they can best influence agencies’ budgets.

In odd-numbered years, North Carolina enacts a two-year budget. The budget passed in the summer of 2015, for example, runs the course of two fiscal years, from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2017. It is known as the 2015-17 budget. In even-numbered years, state leaders make adjustments to the two-year budget based on current information about revenues and expenses. This is often called the "continuation budget." If the state receives less revenue than predicted or costs are higher than predicted, legislators and the governor may make tax changes to increase revenue, change the rules governing some state programs in order to lower costs, or direct state agencies to cut their budgets.

Read the full policy basic here.


Be sure to check out “Raising the Bar,” a new series of essays and blog posts authored by North Carolina leaders highlighting ways in which North Carolina public investments are falling short and where and how they can be improved. See more at the Progressive Pulse.

IN FOCUS: Budget Toolkit

The NC General Assembly will embark on setting the biennial budget for FY 15-17 this session. The state budget is a reflection of the priorities of the state and an opportunity to invest for current and future opportunities.

Check out the choices policymakers need to make to build a sustainable state budget that supports an economy that works for all: Raising the Bar.

Check out our fact sheet on the last two-year budget here: 2013-2015 Budget Factsheet.

For more tools to talk about the state budget and use this research and analysis, visit the Together NC's Budget Toolkit here.

Here are some of our issue-specific fact sheets from the first year of the biennial budget.


The state budget is a reflection of North Carolina’s values and commitment to supporting economic opportunity and investing in the state’s future. The Budget and Tax Center produces rigorous analysis of state budget proposals to determine if they adequately fund public structures and services, particularly those that promote shared prosperity, quality education, and healthy communities.

Public Investments – Every year, the Budget and Tax Center produces a report on each of the state budget proposals—from the governor, the NC House and the NC Senate—and one on the final budget. We analyze the budgets to determine if they make adequate investments in education, health and human services, the courts and public safety, transportation and the environment. Legislators often refer to our analyses during budget debates, and public officials and progressive organizations throughout the state rely on our reports to help them understand the state budget and what it means for their communities and issue areas.

Fiscal Responsibility – The Budget and Tax Center is the only research organization that looks not only at what investments the state is making but also how it pays for them. In addition to our tax analysis, we look at how decisions about savings, fund transfers, and the use of one-time money affect the state’s long-term fiscal health. The Budget and Tax Center also monitors the transparency and accountability of the budget process.

Human Impacts – The budget makes a difference in our everyday lives and the vibrancy of our communities. The Budget and Tax Center works to engage with communities on the budget and its impacts and monitor and document how it is affecting North Carolinians.