The state’s top economist is now predicting that what was supposed to be a $200 million shortfall will, in fact, be a $271 million shortfall. Considering the budget signed in August by Gov. Pat McCrory was $21.1 billion, a few hundred million may seem like small change. But every dollar not coming in could impact the plans of lawmakers.
The governor as well as other lawmakers have issues such as increased base pay for teacher, performance pay, digital learning, and other programs on the table. After the essentials are taken care of, they will have to work with what’s left over to fulfill some of these priorities. While they may be able to get it done, it’s hard to say a shortfall won’t affect legislation.
Lawmakers like Republican Rep. Paul Stam, Speaker Pro Tempore of the House, said at the start of the session that a $200 million shortfall wouldn’t be a big problem, and I doubt that adding $71 million would change that stance. He said on Jan. 14 that lawmakers have contended with larger budget issues in the past.
“We were here when there was supposedly a $4.5 billion shortfall,” he said.