‘Fixes’ Medicaid and cuts gas tax
N.C. Sen. Jim Davis sent in the following statement which originated from the offices of Senate Pro Tempore Phil Berger and Speaker of the House Thom Tillis, following the approval of the North Carolina state budget. The budget now goes to Gov. Beverly Perdue for approval or veto.
State lawmakers reached a $20.18 billion budget agreement Wednesday morning. The agreement makes adjustments to the state’s current biennial budget which filled a $2.5 billion deficit Republicans inherited from previous leadership, reduced government spending by nearly $1 billion and enacted a $50,000 income tax cut for job-creating businesses.
Highlights of the budget agreement include:
• It restores $251 million in recurring state dollars to public education. (K-12)
• It continues to fully fund at the state level all classroom teachers and teaching assistants. In fact, it increases state level funding for teachers to a higher amount than the last Perdue- Dalton budget.
• It provides $27 million for an education reform program to strengthen student literacy, improve graduation rates, reward effective teachers and give parents tools to make better informed decisions about their children’s education.
• It provides $274 million in additional Medicaid funding to cover liabilities created while Democrats controlled the General Assembly. The bill also puts $100 million into the savings reserve fund to help protect the fiscal solvency of the program.
• It cuts and freezes the state gas tax to 37.5 cents per gallon – 1.4 cents per gallon less than the current rate.
• It provides public school teachers and state employees a 1.2 percent raise – the first raise since 2008. Our community college and university systems are given funds for a 1.2 percent raise with flexibility on how to use this money to recruit, retain and reward excellent instructors.
• It fully funds the state retirement system and gives state retirees a 1 percent cost of living adjustment. This is the first adjustment since 2008.
• It funds a $5 million jobs training program through the community college system.
“Our budget reforms and makes smart investments in public education, gives raises to teachers and state employees, fixes problems in Medicaid, and cuts the gas tax – without a job-destroying $1 billion tax hike,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham.) “We worked in good faith to incorporate good ideas from both sides of the aisle, and we urge Gov. Perdue to sign this budget.”
“This is a consensus budget that builds on the conservative framework of last year’s agreement,” said House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg.) “It is fiscally responsible, economically sustainable, keeps taxes low and demands efficiency from state government. It utilizes resources to make targeted improvements in education, Medicaid and transportation. This budget is a smart, sensible foundation that continues our task of putting North Carolina’s fiscal house in order.”