Gov. Roy Cooper signs $25.9 billion North Carolina state budget into law

A working budget was stalled after months of back and forth negotiations between the Republican-controlled General Assembly and the Democratic governor.
‘I will fight to fix its mistakes’: N.C. Gov. Cooper says he will sign state budget despite ‘missed opportunities’
Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 3:41 PM EST
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WBTV) - North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has signed the first state budget in three years into law on Thursday

Governor Cooper made the following statement on the budget after saying he would sign the budget into law despite “missed opportunities” and “politically and unnecessary missteps.”

“This budget moves North Carolina forward in important ways. Funding for high speed internet, our universities and community colleges, clean air and drinking water and desperately needed pay increases for teachers and state employees are all critical for our state to emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever. I will continue to fight for progress where this budget falls short but believe that, on balance, it is an important step in the right direction.”

By a 104-10 vote earlier on Thursday, lawmakers sent the $25.9 billion spending plan to Gov. Cooper who said earlier this week that he would sign the document.

On Wednesday, the House gave initial approval to the budget by the same margin.

A working budget was stalled after months of back and forth negotiations between the Republican-controlled General Assembly and the Democratic governor.

The budget will give pay raises to many state workers. The state budget does call for raises for all teachers, but there is an extra $100 million allocated to supplement some teachers’ pay.

Highlights of the budget include:

  • The budget would total $25.9 billion for 2021-22 and $27 billion for 2022-23.
  • A 5 percent pay raise for most state employees and an average 5 percent pay raise for teachers over the biennium.
  • Increasing the minimum wage for all non-certified personnel and community college staff to $15 per hour beginning in 2022.
  • A $2,800 bonus to most teachers using federal funds.
  • Provides a 5 percent supplement for state retirees over the biennium.
  • 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. (This supplement is not reflected in the average salary raise figure.)
  • $1 billion for broadband expansion.
  • Increases 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.
  • Additional $1.5 billion above the base budget over the biennium in recurring funds for K-12 education.
  • The rainy day fund would be increased to $4.25 billion.
  • $6 billion in cash to the State Capital and Infrastructure Fund over the biennium to fund infrastructure projects and pay down debt.
  • Annual cash contributions to capital and infrastructure projects and debt service totaling $16.1 billion over 10 years.
  • $84 million to Elizabeth City State University for a residence hall, sky bridge, dining facility, and flight school.
  • $528 million transfer over 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. Over the course of the next 7 years, a projected $2.6 billion will be spent on school capital.
  • Adds Fayetteville State University to the N.C. Promise program, which guarantees $500 in-state tuition per semester at participating schools.
  • Appropriates remaining 2020 HAVA funds to enhance technology and improve cybersecurity.
  • 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.

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