RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Highlights of adjustments in the $20.9 billion spending plan for the 2012-13 fiscal year unveiled Thursday by Gov. Beverly Perdue. The monetary figures are adjustments to what the Legislature already has budgeted for the year:
PAY AND BENEFITS
— gives experience-based "step" increase for public school personnel averaging 1.8 percent for teachers and 1.5 percent for administrators, as well as 1.8 percent increases for university and community college personnel and other state employees, at a cost of $40.7 million.
— provides 1.9 percent cost-of-living increase for government retirees, at a cost of $61.1 million.
— raises state sales tax by three-quarters of a cent starting July 1 to generate $760 million. The higher sales tax would be in effect through June 2014.
— caps the state gasoline tax at 37.5 cents per gallon for one year, saving taxpayers $63 million.
— offers up to a $5,000 tax credit to small businesses that hire the long-term unemployed and post-9/11 veterans, at a cost of $24 million starting in the 2013-14 fiscal year.
— eliminates the accumulated $503 million in "flexibility reductions" that local school districts have been required to take since 2009, leading to the restoration or retention of 9,800 teacher and school-based positions.
— spends $92.9 million to hire 1,671 additional teachers to improve teacher-student funding ratios in kindergarten through third grade beyond what the current budget already mandates in grades 1-3.
— spends $17.5 million to cancel required reductions in elementary school reading diagnostic equipment in hundreds of schools and to pay for new assessments in middle and high schools to evaluate whether students are career and college ready.
— restores $3.5 million set to be eliminated this coming year for the North Carolina Teaching Fellows program.
— gives $3.5 million to the Department of Public Instruction to keep the state's three residential schools for the blind or deaf open.
— gives $850,000 to the Governor's Schools programs for academically and intellectually gifted North Carolina high school students.
— provides $17.4 million to teach 680 additional students at University of North Carolina system campuses next fall over what was previously projected.
— rewards UNC campuses that meet student and financial performance goals to share $8 million in incentives.
— gives $5 million to faculty recruitment and retention fund.
— offers $35 million in need-based financial aid to UNC students and $4.5 million to private college students.
— gives more than $13 million to various UNC campuses for high-tech, aviation and health and medicine programs and schools.
— provides out-of-state military veterans and their dependents in-state tuition at UNC system schools if they were last stationed in North Carolina and honorably discharged on or after July 1, 2011, at a cost of $6.3 million.
— saves $12.1 million to reflect the decline in enrollment in the community college system.
— provides out-of-state military veterans and their dependents in-state tuition at community colleges if they were last stationed in North Carolina and honorably discharged on or after July 1, 2011, at a cost of $4.2 million.
— restores $55 million in spending reductions to the community college system.
— provides $1 million for two community colleges to train up to 400 workers for film production crews.
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
— supports several nonprofit groups with $8.6 million now not available through federal block grant funds.
— starts pilot program with $2.4 million to better protect older adults from abuse, neglect and exploitation.
— restores $18.2 million in funding that equates to 20 percent reduction to Smart Start early childhood initiative.
— provides up to 4,579 additional slots for North Carolina Pre-Kindergarten program by spending $25 million to cancel 20 percent reduction.
— spends $10 million to continue tobacco prevention and cessation efforts previously supported through Health and Wellness Trust Fund.
— generates $6.7 million in cost savings through reduced foster care caseloads and change in foster care program.
— spends $109.4 million more on Medicaid to adjust for changes in patient use, consumption of services and rates.
— expands funding for personal care services by $15.4 million to ensure patients are treated the same no matter where they live.
— pays $30.4 million to federal government to make up for overdrawn Medicaid funds in 2008-09.
— sets aside $3.5 million to hire staff to operate new Cherry state mental hospital in Goldsboro opening in April 2013.
— offers more local in-patient beds for mental health treatment, at a cost of $10 million.
JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY
— expands state crime laboratory in Greensboro by 12 positions and $1.1 million to respond to increased DNA submissions.
— expands by nine positions and $596,000 the Department of Justice's methamphetamine investigative team.
— reduces contract hospital and medical provider services for prisoners by $5.9 million.
— spends $12.2 million to implement 2011 Justice Reinvestment Act, designed to reduce the state's prison population while placing a greater emphasis on probation and substance abuse treatment.
— restores $500,000 in tuition assistance for North Carolina National Guard members that was cut two years ago.
ENVIRONMENT AND COMMERCE
— spends $1 million to promote North Carolina's wineries.
— gives $8 million to Perdue's One North Carolina Fund for corporate incentives and $2.5 million to One NC Small Business Fund.
— allocates $11.2 million awarded to North Carolina through settlement with Tennessee Valley Authority to establish grant program for environmental mitigation projects.
— gives North Carolina Rural Jobs fund $15 million to help local governments with local economic development projects that will create private-sector funds.
— restores $2.5 million in funds that would be otherwise collected from new and increased ferry tolls that have currently been suspended by a Perdue executive order.
— scales back road maintenance and resurfacing by $147 million to align them with lower projected Highway Fund revenues.
— reduces Highway Trust fund construction by $31 million to reflect revised revenue estimates.
OTHER STATE AGENCIES
— sets aside $10.3 million to help pay $50,000 to every living victim of North Carolina's forced sterilization program of the 20th century.
— hires 57 people at the Department of Revenue to process tax returns and perform data entry that will improve tax collections.
— restores $850,000 to Tryon Palace in New Bern and $400,000 to state transportation museum in Spencer.
— spends $664,000 to enable the state to access more than $4 million in Help America Vote Act funds for voting machines and voter registration database.
— builds $25.8 million in statewide capital projects, all of which are receipt-supported.
Sources: Gov. Beverly Perdue's budget proposal, state budget office.