NC General Assembly Reaches Agreement on Final State Budget; No Funds Included for the Healthy Food Small Retailer/Corner Store Act
During a press conference yesterday, seventy-six days after the new state fiscal year began, the leadership of the North Carolina General Assembly released the details of the final $21.7 billion budget agreement. The full budget document was released this morning. After thorough review, NCAH regrets to report that no funding was included for the Healthy Corner Store Initiative (HCSI) in the final budget agreement.
The House and Senate are expected to vote on the budget agreement (HB 97) in the coming days, with the goal of final passage by both chambers by Friday, September 18, the day the current Continuing Resolution is to expire at 11:59 pm. House and Senate leaders are hopeful Governor Pat McCrory (R) will sign the budget into law before the deadline passes. Because the budget agreement is a conference committee report, only up or down votes will be taken but some debate is expected.
While it is certainly disappointing that no funding was included in the budget, it is important to note that the HCSI (HB 250) remains alive for consideration in the 2016 short session since the bill passed the full House in June.
NCAH and our members and partners remain committed to continuing our efforts to build broad support for the HCSI at the Legislature. NCAH thanks all of our partners and supporters who helped promote the HCSI in such a dedicated manner over the past year and a half! With the momentum built this year around the issue of healthy food access, we will continue to raise awareness and push for policy and funding to create the Healthy Corner Store Initiative in the 2016 short session. With one in five North Carolinians facing food insecurity this year, the issue of healthy food access will remain in North Carolina until more leaders take serious notice of this policy issue. It is our job to make that happen!
Communities that lack access to healthy foods are disproportionately impacted by obesity and diet-related diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and some types of cancer. The Healthy Corner Store Initiative can help change these statistics by tapping into a community’s existing retail footprint. The Initiative aims to engage corner store and small business owners and provide them with marketing and technical assistance to stock and sell fresh, healthy foods. For talking points on the Healthy Corner Store Initiative click here.
REMINDER: Quarterly Membership Meeting
Monday, October 5, 1:30pm – 3:30pm
American Heart Association
Mark your calendars and watch for an email tomorrow with additional details!