Raleigh – Senate Republicans released their budget proposal this week, once again highlighting their wrong priorities for North Carolina. The “anti-spending plan” fails to invest in our state, instead putting corporate tax cuts before public education, health care, our environment, and our rural communities.
“Once again, Republican legislators are looking for short-term Band-Aids to long-term problems they created by underfunding our state,” NCDP Chairman Wayne Goodwin said. “By shortchanging public education, failing to expand Medicaid, and refusing to invest in protecting clean water, Senate Republicans’ budget falls far short of Governor Cooper’s commonsense proposal and our state’s needs.”
Here are the highlights:
- Cuts to Eastern NC Health Care, but No Medicaid Expansion
Republicans have refused to help 500,000 North Carolinians access affordable health care and bring 43,000 jobs to North Carolina by expanding Medicaid. Instead of making health care more accessible, the proposed budget cuts an estimated $35 million in Medicaid reimbursements from Greenville’s Vidant Medical Center, “a direct attack on the people in Eastern North Carolina” that will have “devastating consequences.”
- Hurting Teachers and Shortchanging Education
Republicans are feeling the pressure after thousands of teachers marched on Raleigh for the second time in two years, but their meager offerings won’t fool anyone. Conservative legislators are celebrating average teacher pay raises of just 3.5%, a drop in the bucket compared to Governor Cooper’s proposed 9.1%. On top of that, the Senate budget doesn’t restore master’s pay, has no cost of living adjustment for state retirees, and fails to enact a fiscally responsible school construction bond.
- Corporate Tax Cuts over Working North Carolinians
The Senate budget would reduce the corporate franchise tax by 36% and put $1.1 billion in the state’s rainy-day fund, helping out-of-state corporations and the wealthiest few while failing to invest in every day North Carolinians.
And that’s not all. Democratic NC Chief Justice Cheri Beasley would lose half her staff under the new budget, making her “the only appellate judge in the state with a single law clerk.” DEQ wouldn’t get any additional funding to continue work combatting emerging compounds like GenX. And crisis pregnancy centers that “frequently give women inaccurate medical information” on reproductive health care would receive over a million dollars in additional funding.