by Peter Vankevich and Connie Leinbach
Raleigh–Rep. Paul Tine, (Unaffiliated-District 6, which covers Ocracoke) has been appointed to serve as vice-chair of the state Budget Conference Committee according to a July 16 press release.
As a House conferee leader, Tine will meet with Senate conferees to negotiate and advocate for provisions included in the House version of the budget.
This is important news for Ocracoke residents since Tine is against the provision in the passed Senate budget the would require priority pass holders for the Ocracoke-Hatteras ferry to pay an annual fee of $150.
“There are two very different plans on the table right now, and attention to detail is crucial,” said House Speaker Tim Moore about the appointment. “I am confident that Paul will be a strong leader throughout this essential process, and offer a unique, independent voice to discussions.”
Moore said the House’s goal is to remain inclusive and transparent throughout budget negotiations.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to contribute and advocate for key issues that are important to the people of Eastern North Carolina,” Tine said. “Ensuring that our region continues to provide strong economic and academic opportunities and support for coastal industries will remain my top priorities.”
This year, the House got the first pass at a state spending plan.
House Bill 97, the proposed state budget for the next two fiscal years beginning July 1 and ending June 30, 2017, passed the House in May. It proposed spending $22.1 billion for the next fiscal year.
When the Senate gave the bill its final approval and sent it back to the House for concurrence June 18, spending was cut back to $21.5 billion.
Since the two versions of the budget did not concur, a committee composed of both houses was formed to hammer out the differences before a final budget is sent to Gov. Pat McCrory.
Bill Rich, Hyde County manager, said in the Hyde County board of commissioners’ June meeting that it won’t be until mid-August before differences are worked out into a new budget.
Among other provisions of the Senate’s bill, given a yes vote by Sen. Bill Cook (R-Beaufort), who represents Ocracoke, are Medicaid reform, the bulk of Senate Bill 160 that creates a local-state matching funds program to dredge inlets, and a provision that, if made into law, would provide the State Board of Education with authority to consolidate local school administrative units in contiguous counties as necessary to ensure that all school systems have the size, expertise, and other resources necessary to provide their students with the opportunity to receive a sound basic education.
Hyde and Tyrrell counties, two of the poorest counties in the state are contiguous with Dare County, as is Currituck County.
Rep. Tine’s contact information is:
N.C. House of Representatives
300 N. Salisbury Street, Room 529
Raleigh, NC 27603-5925
To contact legislators about concerns, visit www.ncleg.net which contains all General Assembly members’ contact information and texts of all bills.