Raleigh, N.C. – The North Carolina House of Representatives gave bipartisan approval to the $23 billion state budget Wednesday that increases the state’s zero-tax bracket, raises teacher pay for the fourth consecutive year, provides disaster relief to communities hit by Hurricane Matthew and raises education spending by $700 million.
The state General Assembly’s final tax relief and spending agreement is consistent with budgets passed since 2011 that produced record savings and revenue surpluses in North Carolina this decade, contrasting a string of tax increases last decade that produced deficits and nearly $2 billion in debt.
North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) spoke in support of the bill during debate:
“We’ve passed along serious tax relief in this budget – roughly 95,000 North Carolinians who today pay income taxes, won’t anymore. Are they the super-rich? Of course not. They’re those earning the least. We are increasing the zero-tax bracket. That’s helping those who are working to try to get by.”
“We’re making North Carolina a great work environment, a great place to live, with low regulations, low taxes, all of those things together, North Carolina is a place where companies want to locate and do business.”
“Look at where we are now from 2008 and 2010, when we were going down the road of Illinois, which is now looking to file bankruptcy. We are now in a state of prosperity. The tax cuts and the economic growth have produced budget surpluses and provided a more robust economy.”
“Moving vans aren’t leaving North Carolina, they’re coming to North Carolina. Every budget we’ve passed in the House this decade has been bipartisan. This is a North Carolina budget, that every member can be proud of. Today is a pivotal day. We’re taking care of state employees, our retirees, and we’re providing tax relief. I hope you will support this budget.”
The 2017 budget fully funds the rapid enrollment growth in North Carolina’s public schools with an additional $700 million in education spending over the next two years, while maintaining the General Assembly’s ongoing commitment to dramatically increase teacher pay after salaries lagged last decade and were cut in 2009.
The budget triples the state’s zero-tax bracket for married families this decade from $6,000 in 2011 to $20,000 by 2019, lowers in the income tax rate,
Finally, the budget provides many of Gov. Cooper’s stated priorities, including an average 10% teacher pay raise, $100 million for disaster relief from Hurricane Matthew, a $300 million savings deposit and middle-class tax relief for North Carolina families.