Earlier this summer, NC lawmakers passed a $24 billion conference budget that missed a number of opportunities to provide basic services and improve the lives of everyday North Carolinians. Within 24 hours, Governor Cooper vetoed the budget, calling it a “failure of common sense and common decency.”
On July 1, the Fiscal Year began and we didn’t have a budget.
No budget??!! While you might be confused about how we’re still running as a state, it’s because there’s a statute that keeps public programs funded at prior year levels.
This means that enrollment growth for schools and health care isn’t funded, pay raises and increases in retirement contributions for teachers and state employers aren’t provided, and emerging needs aren’t addressed.
A couple weeks after the start of the fiscal year, Governor Cooper released a compromise proposal that keeps nearly every major component of the conference budget — except it also includes a clean Medicaid expansion and eliminates tax cuts to corporations, using that revenue to invest in teachers and schools.
An appropriations bill was approved by the General Assembly on July 23 to let federal money flow into certain programs as the stalemate over the budget continues.
Meanwhile, until there’s a new budget, funding is on hold for many other things, like school safety grants, some investments in the community college system, and funding for water infrastructure projects and water monitoring.
It’s August, and we still have no budget. According to House Speaker Tim Moore, “It may take a while, we may be there until October, but we’ll eventually get the votes to see it enacted.”
So the stalemate continues because legislative leaders are unwilling to come to the table and compromise on a better budget.
North Carolina deserves a better budget, one that won’t harm our families and communities but instead invests in them so they can thrive.
It’s time for legislative leaders to provide North Carolinians with their proposal for how to move forward from here. We know that it is possible to invest in our communities if we stop the tax cuts for big companies and the rich. We know the well-being of every North Carolinian depends on our lawmakers making the right choices in our state budget.