At this time, the NC state budget still had not been passed and legislators are meeting in conference that is not open to the public.

The budget impasse is expected to go into September.

“Unfortunately, this conference action is behind closed doors and is how the budget process works, never providing transparency the public deserves,” according to Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause.

There are big difference between the House and Senate on spending and priorities.

“The danger is once a compromise is finally reached, the many other items including issues that affect Ocracoke are quickly thrown together with little thought or debate.”

One of the issues of concern to Ocracoke is the inclusion in the Senate version of the budget to charge anyone wanting a priority pass on the Hatteras Ferry will have to pay $150 year for it.

The priority lane at the ferries was established to expedite islanders’ and vendors’ access to and from their homes and businesses.

Only island residents and vendors may get into this lane.

Another item in the Senate’s version is a call for potential business interest to privatize the ferry system.

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.

Both houses have been conferring all summer.

Contact information for Ocracoke’s representatives:

Representative Paul Tine
Unaffiliated – District 6
300 N. Salisbury Street, Room 529
Raleigh, NC 27603-5925
Senator Bill Cook
Republican – District 1
300 N. Salisbury Street, Room 525
Raleigh, NC 27603-5925
(919) 715-8293


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