Lawmakers back to Raleigh for hurricane session

Raleigh, N.C. — When lawmakers gather Monday afternoon, they plan to approve nearly $800 million in Hurricane Florence relief funding, legislative leaders said over the weekend.

Gov. Roy Cooper in state funding for the storm recovery, with $750 million of that upfront and approved during this week‘s special legislative session.

Lawmakers noted that the administration‘s needs estimates were preliminary, based largely on computer modeling of the storm damage as opposed to in-person analysis. Leadership said in a news release that they want to keep “maximum flexibility” as more information comes in, and that their initial appropriation would total $794 million.

“Some assessed needs may shift considerably over time as federal aid becomes clearer and damage assessments continue,” Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore said in a joint statement. “Education needs, for example, are particularly preliminary.”

Leadership did not release a breakdown of how the money would be spent. More details should be available when the House and Senate appropriations committees go into joint session at 4 p.m.

The initial recovery package may be completely approved by Monday night. Most of the funding will come from the state‘s $2 billion “rainy day” reserve fund and will not require a tax increase.

Billions more will likely flow from the federal government and from private insurance claims tied to the storm and the subsequent flooding, which was historic in much of southeastern North Carolina. to help repair homes as well. Many people, though, will .

House Appropriations Chairman Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, said in the weekend release that school repairs will be the top priority in the state‘s package, along with cleanup, road and local infrastructure repairs and fully funding the state‚Äôs match for federal recovery dollars.

Lawmakers already . That money was earmarked to pay teachers and other school staff whose schools were closed for an extended period and to provide initial matching funds for federal aid.