The North Carolina General Assembly gave its overwhelming approval yesterday to a $23 billion state budget that, among other things, increases education investments by more than $700 million, raises teacher pay for the fourth consecutive year, provides needed disaster relief to communities affected by Hurricane Matthew, helps lower-income people by further expanding the state’s zero-tax bracket, and adds $363.9 million to the state’s savings reserve account.
The bipartisan budget bill received unanimous support from the legislature’s Republicans, with more than a quarter of Senate Democrats and more than one in ten House Democrats present also voting for the measure.
“We’ve passed along serious tax relief in this budget,” commented House Speaker Tim Moore. “Roughly 95,000 North Carolinians who today pay income taxes, won’t anymore — that’s helping those who are working to try to get by.”
The General Assembly’s final tax relief and spending agreement is consistent with budgets passed since 2011 that have produced record savings and revenue surpluses in North Carolina since voters elected Republicans to the majority in 2010. This contrasts a string of tax increases under Democrat control that produced massive deficits and nearly $2 billion in debt.
The 2017 budget fully funds the rapid enrollment growth in North Carolina’s public schools with an additional $700 million in education spending over the next two years, while maintaining the General Assembly’s ongoing commitment to dramatically increase teacher pay after salaries lagged last decade and were cut under Democrats in 2009.
The bipartisan budget bill now awaits Governor Cooper’s signature. For more information on how this year’s state budget affects Western North Carolina, click here.