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News State / Region

‘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.

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The House and Senate approved a budget Thursday that keeps North Carolina moving backwards. A year after losing 6,000 public school educators – including 3,000 teachers and teacher assistants – this budget leaves schools with $190 million less than they had last year. The total reduction to funding for K-12 education over two years will reach $650 million. Financial aid for UNC system students has been cut by $22 million.

The budget also continues the attack on women’s health by defunding cancer screenings and health services provided to women by Planned Parenthood. Cuts to programs for victims of rape and domestic violence remain in place. There are many problems with this budget and despite the good news that state employees and teachers are getting badly needed pay raises, I did not vote to support it because of the overwhelming number of bad items and its overall damage to education.

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Last Wednesday, the North Carolina House of Representatives passed Senate Joint Resolution 865, honoring the late Sen. Bob Carpenter (R-Franklin), who represented Western North Carolina’s Senate District 50 for eight terms. Carpenter passed away at the age of 87 in August 2011. Rep. Roger West (R-Marble) served in the General Assembly with Carpenter for many years.

“Western North Carolina has had no better friend than Sen. Bob Carpenter,” said West. “He was a dedicated public servant, an honorable family man, a patriot, and a dear friend. He is sorely missed.”

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Unemployment rates rose in 76 of North Carolina’s 100 counties in May, fell in 21 and were unchanged in three. When compared to the same month last year, unemployment rates declined in 88 counties, increased in eight, and remained the same in four.

“While rates were up in most counties for May, over-the-year, we see a positive downward trend,” said N.C. Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary Dale Carroll. “Rates were down in 88 counties across North Carolina since May of last year. Our focus remains on growing jobs across the state as several key job announcements have been made over the past several weeks. Our employment service offices are committed to working with employers to get job seekers back to work in North Carolina.”

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