(WGHP) — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday that he would sign the 2-year state budget that the General Assembly is considering this week. State Sen. Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) had said Monday that he expected the budget to be passed and signed.
The Senate on Tuesday approved the bill, 40-8, with some Democrats voting against it. Gladys Robinson (D-Greensboro) was one of those no votes.
You may be wondering how this affects you. If you are a teacher in Guilford County, your raise won’t be as large as your neighbors in Forsyth, Randolph, Rockingham, Alamance or Davidson counties, for instance, because the budget takes a large pool of federal money and distributes it to “low-wealth” counties.
The budget is $25.9 billion for this fiscal year and $27 billion for 2022-23, with a rainy-day balance of $4.25 billion by the end of 2023.
What’s in the budget
- A 5% pay raise for most state employees and an average 5% pay raise for teachers for the two years.
- Minimum wage for all non-certified personnel and community college staff will be $15 per hour beginning in 2022.
- A $2,800 bonus to most teachers using federal funds.
- Bonuses for all state employees using federal funds: $1,500 for state employees who make less than $75,000, and $1,000 for state employees who make more than $75,000. Law enforcement, correctional officers and staff and 24-hour residential or treatment facility employees receive $1,500.
- $100 million in recurring funds for a new state-funded teacher salary supplement focused on low-wealth counties to help them compete with big, wealthy counties when recruiting teachers (over and above raises). This is all counties except Guilford, Wake, Mecklenburg, Durham and Buncombe counties.
- $6 billion in cash to pay for infrastructure projects and pay down debt.
- $16.1 billion over 10 years in contributions to capital and infrastructure projects.
- $84 million to Elizabeth City State University for a residence hall, sky bridge, dining facility and flight school.
- $1 billion for broadband expansion.
- Increases the zero-tax bracket to $25,500.
- Cuts the personal income tax rate from 5.25% to 3.99% by 2027, starting with 4.99% in 2022.
- Increases child tax deduction by $500 per child.
- Eliminates state income tax on military pensions.
- $1.5 billion above the base budget added for K-12 education.
- $528 million transfer during the biennium from the N.C. Education Lottery to the Needs-Based Public School Capital Building Fund, $200 million to the Public School Capital Fund and $80 million into a newly created repair and renovations fund. During the next seven years, a projected $2.6 billion will be spent on capital projects.
- Adds Fayetteville State University to the N.C. Promise program, which guarantees $500 in-state tuition per semester at participating schools.
- A 5% supplement for state retirees over the biennium.
- Revises Emergency Management Act to require a vote of the Council of State to extend a statewide emergency beyond 30 days (effective Jan. 1, 2023).
- Prohibits collusive settlements by the Attorney General.
- Provides $283 million to support deepening and expanding the Wilmington Harbor.
What’s not in the budget
- Medicaid expansion to cover at least 372,400 uninsured residents, leaving $1.2 billion in federal funding on the table. State House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) said he couldn’t get the votes in the house to back this concept.
- No restoration of cuts to the Attorney General’s budget, which Attorney General Josh Stein has said reduced investigation and prosecution of crimes.
- Court-approved solutions to the powers of the governor during emergencies, lawsuits brought by the attorney general and the hundreds of millions in additional education funding required by the recent court ruling in the Leandro funding case. All apparently will be litigated.
What they are saying
COOPER: “I will sign this budget, because on balance the good outweighs the bad.”
BERGER: “This budget continues the Republican-led legislature’s decade-long commitment to low taxes and responsible spending.”
STEIN: “I am encouraged by the legislature’s ongoing partnership to address the critical issue of untested sexual assault kits in our state. The budget provides both funding and additional scientists, which will allow us to continue to test kits and help law enforcement solve cases.”
North Carolina Government Relations Director Derwin Montgomery: “We’re disappointed by the Legislature’s failure to act on an issue that is critical to saving lives from cancer and other chronic diseases, especially when considering the clear statewide need and strong bipartisan public support for the program.”