Today NC House Democratic leaders announced the filing of House Bill 192 to provide immediate help to North Carolina workers and small businesses suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill is sponsored by Reps. Reives, Adcock, Lofton, and Harris.
In addition to federal funding coming from Washington, North Carolina has over $5 billion in unreserved cash sitting in state accounts. With hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians out of work and thousands of small businesses shuttered or struggling, there is no reason to wait months to invest this money.
“We can act now to invest this money,” said House Democratic Leader Robert Reives. “When you have businesses struggling and workers either out of work or seeing their paychecks fall behind, why wait? We just need to act.”
House Democratic leader Robert Reives held a press conference recently with North Carolinians from across the state to share real stories about how relief funding would benefit small businesses, educators, and communities.
“All across North Carolina local governments, small businesses, and families have been tightening their belts,” said Deputy Democratic Leader Gale Adcock. “Our state government has passed bipartisan bills to spend federal money to help. Now it’s time for us to do the same to invest state taxpayer funds that are sitting in state accounts, while so many in our state are in need.”
The bills follow Governor Cooper’s proposed supplemental budget recommendations, including funding for small businesses, rural broadband, food banks, hazard pay for frontline workers, educator bonuses, and unemployment insurance:
- $37 million in small business assistance focused on hospitality, tourism, and historically underutilized businesses
- $30 million to bring high-speed internet to more places in our state
- $10 million to food banks
- $50 million for front-line worker hazard pay
- One-time bonuses for education employees left out of last year’s pay raises
- $2,500 for K-12 teachers and principals
- $1,500 for other school workers
- $2,000 for Community College and UNC System employees
- Bolstering our unemployment system which is the worst in the country for a worker who loses his or her job.
- Extend the maximum duration of benefits to 26 weeks.
- Increase the maximum weekly benefit from $350 to $500.
Read the full bill here.