WHO PUTS THE BUDGET TOGETHER AND HOW?

Partial Roadmap of the State’s Budget Process
  •  Step 1: GOVERNOR’S RECOMMENDED BUDGET
      • NC constitution requires governor to submit a recommended budget for a 2-year period.
      • Governor’s recommended budget is used as a point of departure. General Assembly responds to governor’s recommended budget by making increases, reductions,   
           reallocations, and other amendments.
  •  Step 2: APPROPRIATIONS BILLS
      • NC Constitution requires General Assembly to pass a balanced budget for a “fiscal period.” Constitution does not require a two-year budget—it only speaks of a
        “fiscal period” which can be one year, two years, or other period of time.
  •  Step 3: APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEES
      • Both Senate and House have an appropriations (spending) committee.       
      •  Appropriations committees in House and Senate are further divided into subcommittees to review budget proposals of various departments, divisions, or areas of state government.
  • Step 3A: FINANCE COMMITTEES
      • These are the “money-raising” committees of both House and Senate.
      • Finance committees debate, then pass bills that raise money needed to balance “outgo” with “income.”
      • Once finance bills are passed by committee, they may be included in the appropriations bill so that the House and Senate may vote on a completely balanced
          package in one bill.
  •  Step 4: FULL APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE ACTIONS
      • Subcommittee chairs report budget actions and special provisions, including money-raising provisions of subcommittees that may require finance committee action.
      • Main appropriations chairs report salaries and benefits recommendations for all state employees and teachers and capital spending (for “brick and mortar” repairs, renovations, or construction of state buildings).
      • Amendments and debate
      • Adopt committee substitute for governor’s recommended budget, incorporating legislative changes.
  •  Step 5: HOUSE OR SENATE FLOOR (the Senate begins the budget process)
      • Main appropriations chairs and subcommittee chairs explain bill to entire chamber.
      • Debate and amendments.
      • Vote on second and third readings.
  •  Step 6: SENT TO OTHER CHAMBER
      • Receiving chamber goes through the same process in steps 2, 3, 3A, and 4 and sends its own version of the bill back to the originating chamber.
      • Concurrence by originating chamber voted on. (if “yes,” go to 9; if “no,” go to 6A.)
  •  Step 6A:   HOUSE AND SENATE APPOINT CONFEREES
      • Conferees may consider differences between the two bills, or formulate special conference committee rules.
      • Conferees negotiate differences.
      • Conference report developed, based on agreements/compromises.
  •  Step 7:      HOUSE AND SENATE VOTE ON CONFERENCE REPORT
      •  Conference committee report cannot be amended—must be voted “up” or “down” in each house.
      •  Vote on conference report.
  •  Step 8:      CONFERENCE REPORT ADOPTED
      • Note: If not adopted, new conferees may be appointed and the conference committee process and negotiation of the differences is repeated.
  •  Step 9:      BILL ENROLLED, RATIFIED AND SENT TO GOVERNOR FOR SIGNATURE
      • If governor signs the budget bill, the budget is formally enacted. Gubernatorial veto of the bill is “all or nothing.” Governor’s veto can be overridden by a 3/5 vote of those present and voting in both the House and Senate. If veto is overridden, budget is formally enacted. If governor’s veto is not overridden (“sustained”), process begins again at Step 3.             

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