Understanding the budget process - and how teen pregnancy prevention fits in - is an important tool for any advocate. Right now, our advocacy is largely focused on protecting North Carolina's progress in reducing teen pregnancies by protecting the programs that helped us make that progress.
Historically, the state has funded 71 teen pregnancy prevention projects using a combination of state and federal TANF funds. Total funding was $3.9 million, with $2.9 million coming from the federal TANF Block Grant. Last year, the TANF Block Grant was cut at the federal level and those cuts have had a ripple effect for North Carolina.
In recent years, budget cuts have reduced the total number of teen pregnancy prevention projects to 58. The number of projects could be cut even further in the current budget process.
Here is a brief history of the current state budget and what will happen next. The budget process step happening now is highlighted in red.
What's Already Happened
The 2011-13 biennial state budget was passed and vetoed by the Governor. The Governor's veto was overridden, and the budget was enacted. The budget covers two state fiscal years, 2011-12 and 2012-13. The budget includes funding for Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiatives. (Legislators will make adjustments to the second budget year in the 2012 short session.)
58 local teen pregnancy prevention projects are funded in the budget, the same number as in previous years but a significant decline from the 71 projects funded in the early-to-mid-2000s.
The Federal Government reduces TANF supplemental funds to the states.
The NC Department of Health and Human Services must make budget adjustments, and recommends reducing teen pregnancy prevention funds.
The Governor releases her budget, which includes the full amount for teen pregnancy prevention that was included in the two-year budget passed in 2011.
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services includes most teen pregnancy prevention funding, but cuts $450,000 in TANF funds (based on NC DHHS' recommendation above). This cut will eliminate at least eight local projects.
The full House approves a state budget that includes the cut recommended by the Appropriations Subcommittee. During the House budget debate, Representative Diane Parfitt proposed an amendment to restore the $450,000 cut, but the amendment failed 47-71.
The budget goes to the Senate.
What Happens Next
The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services is in the process of reviewing the House budget. The Appropriations Subcommittee has the power to restore the cuts included in the House budget.
The Appropriations Subcommittes will recommend their budget changes to the full Senate.
The Senate will debate and pass a budget. The Senate budget will go to the House so the House can agree on any changes.
The budget will go to the Governor for her signature or veto.
The budget will be enacted.
Here is what funding for teen pregnancy prevention looks like at this point in the budget debate.
The budget approved by the house includes:
- $2.5 million in federal TANF Block grant funds for pregnancy prevention ($1.5 million that will go to local projects and $1 million that will go to local health departments)
- $650,000 in Maternal & Child Health Block Grant funds for pregnancy prevention programs and initiatives.
- $450,000 in federal TANF Block grant funds for pregnancy prevention. Without these funds, at least eight local pregnancy prevention projects will have to be cut or not funded. TThe cut represents a 16.1% decrease in funding for local pregnancy prevention projects.