The state House convenes at 10:00am Thursday where members are expected to debate dozens of amendments before voting on their version of the state budget.
On the plus side, the $22.1 billion spending plan includes a two percent pay raise for all teachers, with starting salaries for the state’s newest teachers rising to $35,000 a year. The budget also earmarks $100 million to handle school enrollment growth, which will accommodate an expected 17,000 additional students next year.
But what this budget fails to fund is just as important, according to Amber Moodie-Dyer with the NC Budget & Tax Center.
Moodie-Dyer notes the spending plan fails to restore funding for teaching assistants and underfunds textbooks, while opting instead to reduce the corporate tax rate.
Moodie-Dyer joins us this weekend on NC Policy Watch’s News & Views with Chris Fitzsimon to discuss the budget process. For a preview of that radio interview click below:
The NC Budget & Tax Center is not alone that assessment of the House Budget. The editorial board of Greensboro’s News & Record writes:
…there still aren’t enough investments. North Carolina must restrengthen its universities and community colleges and do more to make sure children are ready for post-secondary education. Quality early childhood learning is still unavailable to many children, and high numbers never get on track in the primary grades.
The $400 million revenue windfall for the current fiscal year gives budget writers some hope that revenues will continue to be strong. They are wisely investing a little more in people, infrastructure and savings.
Yet with more corporate tax cuts coming, it’s questionable whether revenues will continue to grow enough to pay for further needed investments.
It would be better to freeze corporate tax rates and make sure a lush, green spring doesn’t dry up in a summer drought.