RALEIGH (June 28, 2017) – Today the NC General Assembly overrode Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the 2017-19 state budget that legislators approved last week.
To be sure, there are things to like in the budget.
There are raises for public school teachers of almost 10% over two years. There’s partial restoration of the NC Teaching Fellows, with forgivable loans for students who agree to teach in STEM fields and special education. There are funds to grow enrollment at our public colleges and universities. There’s an increase for NC Promise, which will offer in-state tuition of $500 at three universities in fall 2018. For the first time in years, there’s no major management-flexibility cut to our public universities.1
We also like some of the tax cuts – an increase in the standard deduction, for example, will help those struggling near the bottom of the income scale.
But in the second year of the budget, there are more than half a billion dollars in tax cuts.2
At a time when North Carolina still hasn’t recovered to pre-recession levels of spending per student in K-12 or our public universities3 – when our average teacher pay ranks 35th and our expenditure per K-12 student still ranks 43rd in the nation4 – the magnitude of those reductions keeps North Carolina from being what it could be.
It’s too bad Gov. Cooper didn’t have latitude to veto just the second year.
1 http://ncleg.net/Sessions/2017/Budget/2017/conference_committee_report_2017_06_19.pdf, pp. F6-F46.
2 General Fund Availability Statement, http://ncleg.net/Sessions/2017/Budget/2017/conference_committee_report_2017_06_19.pdf.
4 http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/2017_Rankings_and_Estimates_Report-FINAL-SECURED.pdf, pp. 109, 121. http://www.wral.com/nc-ranks-35th-in-nation-for-teacher-pay-ranked-41st-last-year/16693105/.