North Carolina's legal aid funding threatened by N.C. General Assembly budget

The N.C. General Assembly budget in its current state includes devastating funding cuts for LSSP and the state’s two other legal aid providers, Legal Aid of North Carolina and Pisgah Legal Services.

The N.C. Senate budget bill (S744) eliminates the filing fee portion of funding for the Access to Civil Justice Act (ACJA), which amounts to approximately $1.8 million per year, and the Committee Report to the bill eliminates the appropriated portion of funding for the ACJA, currently $671,250 for the legal services community. LSSP would lose all of its state funding, about $175,000 per year.

In the N.C. House’s recently released budget, the filing fee portion of the Access to Civil Justice Act remains intact, but the $671,250 of appropriated funding for the ACJA is eliminated.

These cuts would result in extensive reductions in services to persons in need of assistance and would prevent this state from providing equal access to justice. This will directly impact children and disabled persons, the elderly and veterans and their families who have particular need for these services and represent the large majority of our clients. In addition, cutting public funds for legal aid will create an added burden on the courts. In 2012, the total positive economic impact of legal aid services in North Carolina was $48,775,276. Read more about the economic impact of legal aid services in N.C. in the executive summary or full Economic Impact Report.

This funding has been in place since 1989 and is as necessary now as it has ever been (see Fact Sheet).

It is critical that the N.C. General Assembly restore funding for the ACJA.

A list of legislators appointed as budget conferees can be found here. Please take some time to reach out to them today and let them know how important this funding is to North Carolinians in need!