RALEIGH, N.C. (AP/WBTV) - Gov. Roy Cooper unveiled his North Carolina government budget proposal for the next two years. The proposal includes a 10% raise for teachers, raises for state employees, increased access to healthcare, increased funding for education and a bond proposal.
Cooper held a press conference at 2 p.m. Wednesday to roll out his plan.
The governor’s budget invests $27.4 billion in 2021-2022 and $28.5 billion in 2022-2023. These investments are made without raising taxes.
Cooper recommended investments in schools, increased pay for teachers, strengthening healthcare, expanding economic opportunities and infrastructure investments.
“With the right priorities, we will not only beat this pandemic, but build lasting success for North Carolina,” Cooper said. “The most important recommendations today will invest in North Carolina’s people so they can learn, get healthier, and get the right kind of training for great jobs.”
Cooper’s budget would provide K-12 teacher raises of 10% on average over two years and make sure all non-certified school personnel receive a minimum of $15 an hour. The budget also invests more than $78 million in early education and child development.
The plan also provides $80 million to help school districts hire more nurses, counselors, psychologists, and social workers to support student physical and mental health.
Read more about the Governor’s plan for stronger schools HERE.
Read more about the Governor’s investment in teachers and state employees HERE.
This budget recommends investments of over $1.1 billion, including $675 million for UNC System projects, $360 for state agency projects, and $100 million toward energy efficiency improvements.
Cooper’s budget recommends placing a $4.7 billion General Obligation Bond on the November 2021 ballot to ask voters to address the following:
- $2.5 billion for public schools to address the over $8 billion in documented needs
- $783 million for the UNC System, including $295 million for health and safety projects
- $500 million for the Community College System
- $430 million for Health and Safety projects across State Government
- $460 million for Parks, Zoos, Museums, and Historic Sites
The Governor recommends $45.4 million in economic investments, including support for One NC Small Business Fund and Carolina Small Business Fund. The proposed budget proposes funding to address the disproportionate economic impact of COVID-19 on communities of color through increased support for minority-owned businesses.
Read more about the Governor’s plan on the economy HERE.
“Cooper’s budget provides access to health care for more than 600,000 working North Carolinians, keeps rural hospitals open and strong, reduces the number of uninsured veterans, helps fight the opioid epidemic, and injects over $5 billion in direct investment into the state by expanding Medicaid,” a release states. No taxes would be increased to achieve the major expansion of health care access.
The American Rescue Plan provides an additional $1.7 billion in federal funds to support Medicaid expansion without the state covering any cost share for up to six years.
“We must get health care to more working people and the best way to do that is to expand Medicaid,” Cooper said.
The budget invests over $100 million in clean energy, with $10 million for clean energy economic development and $4.5 million in clean energy grants for homegrown start-ups and small businesses.
Cooper recommends over $300 million in spending on environmental stewardship, increasing access to parks, and enhancing the state’s resiliency to future floods. The budget also recommends nearly $8 million for emerging compounds mitigation.
Read more about the Governor’s plan HERE.
The governor’s budget proposal includes funds to:
- Recruit and retain a diverse educator workforce;
- Ensure access to a sound, basic education for all students;
- Emphasize equity in government decision making;
- Support minority-owned businesses; and
- Prioritize fairness in the criminal justice system.
The General Assembly will consider Cooper’s requests as House and Senate Republicans fashion a budget bill and get it to Cooper’s desk.
GOP legislators and Cooper have had mixed success over the past two years finding consensus on large spending bills.
The two sides never agreed on a conventional two-year budget in 2019 due to an impasse over Medicaid expansion.