On May 4, 2011, the House side of North Carolina’s General Assembly passed a budget bill (HB 200) that cuts annual funding for the statewide Indigent Defense Services (IDS) by roughly $11 million, or more than 9% of their previous year’s budget. The threatened cut is especially drastic because, based on projected need for the remainder of this fiscal year, IDS expects to be nearly $12.8 million short. In the past, the legislature would make a one-time appropriation to IDS to make up for any end-of-the-year shortfall, but the current legislative leadership has made it clear that such practices will not continue. This means the legislature is expecting IDS to pay for this year’s deficit out of next year’s reduced budget. IDS would have to operate for all of the 2011-2012 fiscal year with only 80% of the budget it had in 2010-2011, and this at a time when IDS caseloads are increasing. (Click here for more information on IDS and how North Carolina prosecutors pushed for these cuts). Most locals expect the budget bill to pass the Senate, with sufficient votes in the Assembly to override any gubernatorial veto.