Legislative Update: June 2015


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Legislative Report    

House Unveils Budget: Positive Signs for UNC Charlotte

In a bipartisan vote, the North Carolina House of Representatives passed a budget including significant bright spots for UNC Charlotte and the UNC system.  

“We thank Speaker Tim Moore, the House leadership and strong bipartisan support for passing a budget that invests in higher education,” said Chancellor Philip L. Dubois. “By fully funding enrollment growth and passing a plan that invests in strategic capital projects like the science building on our campus, the legislature has demonstrated they recognize the important role of higher education in driving economic growth.”  

Dubois continued, “We are especially proud of the key role Charlotte regional legislators and UNC Charlotte alumni played in this process including Co-Chairmen of Finance Reps. Jason Saine (’95) and Bill Brawley (’78); Majority Leader Mike Hager (’87); Capital Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Dean Arp (’99); Member Rep. Cecil Brockman (’06); Education Policy Committee Vice Chairman Rep. Tricia Cotham (’01) and Rep. Kelly Hastings (’09). We also gratefully acknowledge the leadership and support of Education Appropriations Subcommittee Chairs Rep. Craig Horn and Rep. Rob Bryan.”

Budget Highlights:

  • Fully funds enrollment growth $49M for UNC system, including $18M for UNC Charlotte
  • Removes proposed management flex cut and cuts to advancement functions representing $40M in restored funding over governor’s budget proposal
  • Directs $500,000 for an economic modeling project at UNC Charlotte’s Data Science Initiative
  • 2 percent salary increase and five days bonus leave for state employees, including University employees
  • Provides greater management flexibility by increasing carryforward funds from 2.5 percent to 5 percent, allowing campuses to address time-sensitive repairs and renovations
  • Science building advances; the budget provides for $90M in two-thirds bonds if a general obligation bond, proposed by Gov. Pat McCrory, is not authorized by May 31, 2016

There is still more work to be done. The House budget calls for a management flex cut $8.1M to the UNC system in the second year of the biennium and a cut of $13M to fund the N.C. Guaranteed Admission Program at community colleges.

What’s next? The Senate

Governor McCrory, House and Senate leaders have three very different approaches and levels of funding for capital spending. We are encouraged by the strong endorsements of the importance of investing in the University, and that capital is being addressed as the state moves out of the Great Recession. Read about the Chancellor’s recent visit to the legislature.

The budget now moves to the Senate where it has indicated a spending plan in the 2-3 percent spending range versus the House increase of more than 5 percent. The Senate’s strong past support for higher education funding is encouraging as it begins budget deliberations. The Senate is expected to vote on the budget on June 11. 

Your help is needed:

Do you know Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, Appropriations Co-Chairs Sens. Kathy Harrington of Gaston County, Harry Brown of Onslow County, Brent Jackson of Duplin County? Senators Tom Apodaca  of Henderson County or Bob Rucho of Mecklenburg County? 

The time is now to make our case for the science building at UNC Charlotte. If you know any of these members, please contact Betty Doster at betty.doster@uncc.edu or 704-608-9382 (cell).

Notable:

Rep. Cotham (’01) attends College Of Education awards ceremony

Rep. Tricia Cotham (’01), a former assistant principal in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, donned her “Teacher’s Superman Cape” with words of inspiration and encouragement to more than 150 people at the annual awards ceremony for the College of Education. Undergraduate and graduate students received scholarship awards from donors for academic excellence. Rep. Cotham presented the Outstanding Beginning Teacher Award, made possible through a generous gift from Page and Ed Kizer, to Marisa Rose DiFronzo of Weddington High School.  

Read about this and other happenings in “College of Education Connections.”

From left: Ellen McIntyre, dean, College of Education; Rep. Tricia Cotham (’01); award winner Marisa Rose DiFronzo; Melba Spooner, senior associate dean 

Raleigh Alumni and Legislative Reception

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (’93, ’94) hosted the third annual Raleigh Alumni and Legislative Reception in May at the Hawkins-Hartness House. More than 75 alumni and legislators were on hand for the event. Check out event photos here and visit UNC Charlotte’s Alumni Association for more alumni heppenings.

Raleigh Alumni and Legislative Reception

From left: Rep. Jason Saine (’95), Rep. Bill Brawley (’78), Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (’93,’94) showing off his autographed basketball from Coach Mark Price, Chancellor Dubois, Mitch Daratony (’17), student body president and Mike Wilson (’93), trustee and former student body president