Raleigh, N.C. – A bipartisan vote of the North Carolina House of Representatives gave final legislative approval to a $24 billion compromise budget that prioritizes pay raises for state employees and capital construction funds for public schools, community colleges, and universities.
Four state Senate Democrats and three state House Democrats have joined Republicans to support the budget that also provides over $100 million in hurricane relief funding for debris removal, replacement of emergency response equipment, and grants for search-and-rescue squads.
“A vote against this budget is a vote against these programs,” said Senior House Appropriations Committee co-chair Rep. Donny Lambeth (R-Forsyth) during debate on Thursday.
The State Employees Association of North Carolina (SEANC) also urged legislators to support the spending plan because it “prioritizes pay raises for state employees.”
“Our members spoke out in record numbers during this process,” said SEANC Executive Director Robert Broome. “We ask that all legislators do the same by voting yes on the budget compromise.”
The spending plan also proposes tens of millions of dollars for new salaried positions and capital projects in the court system to implement North Carolina’s commitment to “Raise the Age” of juvenile jurisdiction.
Infrastructure funding is another core focus of the budget that provides $75 million in grants to commercial airports, $23 million for rail infrastructure, and another $11 million to the Port of Wilmington.
“We are sent here to make a difference in the lives of the people,” said House Appropriations Committee co-chair Rep. Josh Dobson (R-McDowell), “and this budget will make a difference to the citizens of North Carolina.”
The budget authorizes $1.5 billion for capital expenditures on K-12 schools and $400 million for community colleges to fund repairs, renovations, and new buildings on public education campuses across North Carolina.
Major capital projects at state universities are also funded by the budget, including a $215 million authorization to build a new Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University.
Ten other state universities would receive major capital appropriations for projects on their campuses in the budget proposal.
House Majority Leader John Bell (R-Wayne) urged his colleagues to deliver historic investments in the $24 billion state budget to North Carolinians.
“As elected officials we have a responsibility to govern,” Majority Leader Bell said. “A responsibility to our towns, our communities, our cities, and the people we represent, to pass a budget. We know how important these funds are back home.”
“We aren’t going to agree on everything, but it’s our duty to put people above politics. Holding up an entire state budget is not fair to the people we serve. These are vital dollars for people who need them.”
The state budget also raises the standard deduction, or ‘zero-tax bracket,’ to increase take-home pay for working families. Franchise tax reductions are also included to boost North Carolina’s economic competitiveness for jobs in new and relocating businesses.
Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) said education communities in North Carolina can look at the budget and see historic investments they’ll receive for new buildings, classroom safety, school supplies, and pay raises.
“Education is always the biggest focus of our spending plans, and this year is no different,” Speaker Moore said. “You can support this state budget and be proud of promises kept to the people of North Carolina.”
Read more details of the state budget here.