North Carolina lawmakers gave final approval Sept. 18 to a state budget that provides an increase of $440 million in transportation funding by eliminating Highway Fund transfers to the General Fund, raising Division of Motor Vehicle fees (with quadrennial adjustments for inflation on certain fees), increasing the state Highway Use Tax on out-of-state motor vehicle purchases, eradicating the ‘noncommercial leaking petroleum- UST cleanup fund’, and permitting municipalities to increase their vehicle sales tax.
The bill passed after months of dispute between both parties of the General Assembly, with three continuing resolutions issued as the debate extended beyond the beginning of the fiscal year on June 30. After a compromise plan was reached, House Bill 97 was passed by the Senate Sept. 17, with a vote of 37-13. The House passed the bill the next day with a vote of 81-33. Of the voting legislators, all Republicans—104 in total—supported the budget bill, while 14 voting Democratic legislators approved the bill and 46 opposed it.
HB 97 now goes to the desk of Gov. Pat McCrory (R), who stated Sept. 17 his intention to approve the state budget compromise.