Stein: Teacher raises a must, recent tax changes make it “a real challenge” (video)

Governor Pat McCrory made it clear Tuesday that North Carolina’s teachers would see a raise in 2014. What is less clear is just how large that raise will be and where the money will come from.

Senator Josh Stein says there is no doubt that educators should be paid more, but he has concerns the governor’s rhetoric may not match the state’s economic reality:

“Let’s see if the commitment is there to get us to the national average in four years,” said Stein in an interview with N.C. Policy Watch. “Unfortunately the tax breaks that they gave to the wealthiest one percent are going to suck out an additional $600 million out of our budget next year and every year thereafter. So it’s going to be a real challenge, but it’s a challenge we need to meet.”

According to the Budget & Tax Center, the tax plan passed last year by the Republican-controlled legislature and signed by Governor McCrory will reduce revenue by $650 million per year when fully implemented. Another way of looking at that is that state spending will decline by more than $2 billion over the next five years.

By comparison, the cost for a two-percent pay raise for teachers and state employees would be about $682.8 million for the biennium.

Stein joins us this weekend on News and Views to discuss teacher pay, tax changes, and the administration’s refusal to expand Medicaid. For a preview of his radio interview with Chris Fitzsimon, click below:
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