RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Gov. Roy Cooper (D) signed the state budget on Thursday.
The budget totals $25.9 billion this fiscal year and $27 billion next fiscal year.
Cooper released the following statement on the signing:
“This budget moves North Carolina forward in important ways. Funding for high speed internet, our universities and community colleges, clean air and drinking water and desperately needed pay increases for teachers and state employees are all critical for our state to emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever. I will continue to fight for progress where this budget falls short but believe that, on balance, it is an important step in the right direction.”
House Speaker Tim Moore (R) issued a statement after SB105 was signed into law:
“Today is a great day for all of North Carolina. Finally, the citizens of North Carolina have a comprehensive spending package for the first time since 2018. Now that Governor Cooper has signed SB 105 into law, we have finally given our state a budget they can truly be proud of and one that meets the most critical needs of North Carolinians.”
North Carolina is the last state in the country to adopt a budget. During the last two-year legislative session, Republicans and Democrats couldn’t reach an agreement.
The governor said earlier in the week that he intended to sign the bill – saying the “good outweighs the bad.”
Cooper highlighted Medicaid expansion as one of the areas where the budget fails.
Here are some of the highlights:
- Most state employees would receive pay raises of 5 percent over two years plus a $1,000 bonus. The bonus would be $1,500 for those making under $75,000 and for those working in: law enforcement, corrections and 24-hour residential or treatment facilities.
- Teachers would receive pay raises on average of 5 percent over two years plus a bonus of up to $2,800. Community college faculty raises would be 6 percent over two years.
- The minimum wage for all non-certified employees in public schools and community colleges would increase to $13 per hour in the current fiscal year and to $15 per hour in the next fiscal year.
- Retirees would receive a 5 percent cost of living adjustment bonus over two years, which is not permanent.
- The personal income tax rate would drop from the current 5.25 percent to 3.99 percent over six years. The standard deduction and child tax credit would increase as well. Under an analysis released by Senate leadership this year, a family of four making the median household income of $54,602 would see their tax bill reduced by $566, or 37%, when the plan is fully implemented.
- The corporate income tax would be phased out over six years beginning in 2025. The corporate franchise tax will be reduced as well.
- The rainy day fund would be increased to $4.25 billion, more than doubling the current balance of $1.98 billion.
- Would allocate $5.9 billion into the State Capital and Infrastructure Fund (SCIF) to build, renovate and repair buildings for state agencies, the UNC system, community colleges and other assets.
- Would include a limited expansion of Medicaid to cover 12 months of postpartum care. The budget does not include a full expansion of Medicaid, as Gov. Cooper has wanted.
- Would add Fayetteville State University to the N.C. Promise program, which sets tuition for in-state students at $500 per semester.
Cooper said that many of the things that the budget gets right are things he had previously put forward in other budget proposals – but that the legislature didn’t get everything right.