Raleigh, N.C. – Pay raises for state employees and educators, an additional $60 million in disaster relief and a record $2 billion savings reserve were approved by the North Carolina House of Representatives on Thursday in the first of two floor votes on the state budget.
Tentative approval of the $23.9 billion spending plan followed five hours of floor debate on Thursday and a full day of consideration by three state House committees on Tuesday.
“Last decade the state legislature spent every taxpayer dime available, raised taxes, and repeated that process until the state was billions in debt, nearly bankrupt with no savings, and forced to furlough teachers and cut their pay,” said House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland).
“North Carolina is on a much different path today with over $350 million in revenue surpluses, a record $2 billion savings reserve, a fifth consecutive teacher pay raise and historic tax relief that is putting money back in the pockets of working families.”
“The state House of Representatives remains committed to smarter spending that provides financial security for our citizens, invests in state employees and educators, and protects taxpaying families’ hard-earned money.”
“We reject efforts to return our state to the broken budgets of just a few years ago that threatened the economic solvency of our state, burdened taxpayers with increasing rates, and failed to save a rainy day reserve for emergencies.”
The 2018 state budget limits spending growth to a less than 4% total increase in spending.
Key provisions in North Carolina’s spending plan include:
Investments in Teachers and Schools
- A fifth-consecutive teacher pay raise averaging 6.5%.
- A $700 million increase in public education funding.
- $3,150 average principal pay raise
Making Schools Safer
- $35 million for school safety initiatives
- $241 million lottery funds to build or upgrade school facilities
Better Compensation for State Employees
- A new baseline salary of $31,200 for all state employees.
- A 2% raise for most state employees and a cost-of-living supplement for retirees.
Taxpayers Keep More Hard-Earned Money
- 99% of North Carolina families will pay lower state income taxes, or no taxes, in 2019
- The zero-tax bracket for working families increases to $20,000, tripling since 2011.
- 25% new state income tax rate, down from a top rate of 7.75% since 2011.
Rewarding Law Enforcement and Corrections Officers
- A 4% pay raise for all corrections officers
- $44,000 starting pay for State Troopers
- In 6 years a State Trooper will reach top of pay scale: $64,202
- $15 million for security and safety improvements in state prisons
Protecting Drinking Water
- Over $10 million to address GenX and provide access to clean drinking water.
Helping Disaster Victims Recover
- $60 million new funds for disaster relief
- State disaster relief funds total over $360 million since Hurricane Matthew
Saving for the Future
- $2 billion savings reserve fund for emergencies is a state record
Connecting Rural North Carolina
- $10 million investment in broadband access to nonurban communities