Gov. Cooper & State Budget Director Perusse Share Budget Recommendations For North Carolina
RALEIGH, N.C. — Governor Roy Cooper and State Budget Director Charlie Perusse met to discuss the Governor’s budget recommendations for North Carolina on Wednesday.
Governor Cooper’s plan would recommend making significant investments into schools, including paying teachers more, focusing on strengthening access to health care, expanding economic opportunities, and investing in infrastructure.
Governor Cooper hopes to help build a stronger North Carolina by investing $27.4 billion in 2021-22 and $28.5 billion in 2022-23 into education, economic development, and health care without raising taxes.
“With the right priorities, we will not only beat this pandemic, but build lasting success for North Carolina,” says Governor Cooper. “The most important recommendations today will invest in North Carolina’s people so they can learn, get healthier, and get the right kind of training for great jobs.”
Governor Cooper says he plans to make these investments without raising taxes by using federal funds from the American Rescue Plan for important state priorities such as broadband expansion, water and sewer infrastructure, assistance for buildings recovering from the pandemic, education, and workforce training.
“Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, some of our most pressing needs to lift communities in rural and other areas can be covered by federal funds,” says Governor Cooper.
Officials say the Governor’s plan would give K-12th grade teachers a 10 percent raise on average, and ensures all non-certified school personnel receive a minimum wage of $15 an hour.
The budget invests over $78 million into early education and child development so more children can attend Pre-K, receive quality care, and have access to early intervention services, according to a news release.
Governor Cooper says the plan will also provide $80 million to help school districts across the state hire more nurses, counselors, psychologists, and social workers to support the physical and mental health of the children.
“This budget also works to make good on our state’s Constitutional duty to make sure every child has access to a sound basic education,” says Governor Cooper. “We know how to do that: Attract and keep good teachers with competitive pay and recruit young people to make teaching a career. Make sure students and adults are ready for careers in high demand fields of employment. Provide the right resources for students with the greatest needs.”
Governor Cooper says he will work to improve pay for hardworking state employees, and his plan provides them with bonuses, strengthens their benefits, and provides the most substantial cost-of-living adjustment for state government workers who have retired.
The budget also recommends investing over $1.1 billion, including $675 million for UNC System projects, $360 for state agency projects, and $100 million toward energy efficiency improvements, into rebuilding critical infrastructure in the state, according to a news release
Cooper says his plan recommends putting $45.4 million into economic investments to help support those struggling financially due to the pandemic, including small businesses and local governments.
This economic investment will offer support to One N.C. Small Business Fun and Carolina Small Business Fund, according to a news release.
The Governor’s budget will help provide access to health care to more than 600,000 working residents of North Carolina by keeping rural hospitals open, reducing the number of uninsured veterans, helping to fight the opioid epidemic, and investing over $5 billion to expand Medicaid in the state.
“We must get health care to more working people and the best way to do that is to expand Medicaid,” said Governor Cooper. “I am ready to work with legislative leadership and members of both political parties here in North Carolina to find a way forward.”
Cooper says the budget also builds on the state’s progress towards adopting cleaner energy, air, and water, as well as attracting clean energy jobs.
The budget would invest over $100 million into expanding access to clean energy technologies, clean energy economic development, and building the clean energy workforce, according to a news release.
Lastly, Cooper hopes to continue shining a light on long-standing inequities, and provide funding to recruit and retain a diverse educator workforce, ensure fair access to education for all students, support minority-owned businesses, and prioritize fairness in the criminal justice system.