THE RALEIGH REPORT
May 11, 2017
The State Budget: What Are Our Priorities
A state budget shows what is important to us and what are priorities are. Always keep that in mind as you hear and learn about the budget.
Passing a budget takes several steps.
Step #1: Governor Cooper introduces his budget proposal.
Step #2: The Senate passes its budget proposal. [This is happening this week.]
Step #3: The House passes its budget proposal.
Step #4: The House and Senate agree on a common budget.
Step #5: The Governor signs the budget or vetoes it. If he signs, it is law.
Step #6: If the Governor vetoes, the House & Senate will try to override his veto.
Step #7: If House & Senate override, their budget is law. If not, we start over.
Right now, we have two budget proposals: Governor Cooper's and the State Senate's. Check out this side-by-side comparison of the two.
Governor Cooper's Budget Priorities
Fiscally responsible: puts $300 million, or 60% of revenue growth, into NC's Rainy Day Fund.
Raises teacher pay 10% over the next two years.
Invests $20 million for local schools to have flexibility to hire school support staff.
Eliminates the waitlist for Pre-K.
Invests new money in Smart Start for the first time in nearly a decade.
Creates NC GROW scholarship program for recent high school graduates looking to attend NC community colleges.
Dedicates $12 million in mental health and $2 million in law enforcement to fight the opioid crisis.
Invests $30 million in NC Ready Sites to attract job projects in struggling counties.
Provides $20 million for rural broadband access.
Senate Republicans' Budget Priorities
Billion dollar tax cut with breaks for millionaires 60 times larger than those for middle class families. ($3,600 for the average millionaire and $60 for the average middle class family).
Includes a teacher pay raise that is half of Governor Cooper's for 2017-2018.
New teachers and teachers with 25+ years' experience get no raise.
No funding for rural broadband expansion.
No funding to bring "ready sites" to rural communities.
No funding for NC GROW scholarships.
New funding for Pre-K and Smart Start at half of Governor Cooper's proposal.
$250,000 in opioid funding in only the City of Wilmington.
When reading over the comparison of the Senate and Governor's budget remember that budgets are about what we consider important as a State. Past years' budgets have prioritized tax cuts for the wealthiest corporations and individuals. Since 2012, a person making $1 million or more has saved more in taxes each year ($42,652) than the current salary of a 13 year teacher.
As the State Budget moves to the House, I will be working to pass and support a budget that creates good jobs, improves our schools, and puts more money in the pockets of middle class and working families.
Call to Action: Contact Your Senators and Representatives in D.C. about North Carolina Disaster Relief
North Carolina asked the federal government for an additional $900 million for relief for last year's natural disasters associated with wildfires and Hurricane Matthew. We received $6 million less than one percent.
Governor Cooper has written President Trump, Speaker Ryan, and Senate Majority Leader McConnell expressing his "shock and disappointment" at the lack of support for many citizens who lost homes, small business owners who lost livelihoods, farmers who lost entire crops, and communities whose basic infrastructure remains devastated.
Below is a DRAFT Action Alert for you to use to take action and contact D.C. and tell them to step up to the plate and do more for North Carolina.
DRAFT Action Alert Message
Last year terrible storms devastated parts of North Carolina. Many months later many of our communities remain in need of funds for housing, farming losses, small business recovery, and health/mental health services.
North Carolina requested $900 million in funding from Washington DC to deal with disaster relief. The most recent DC budget agreement included $6 million less than one percent. Governor Roy Cooper today wrote President Trump, Speaker Ryan, and Senator McConnell expressing his "shock and disappointment" at Washingtons refusal to assist our state and our most vulnerable citizens.
Take a moment today to contact President Trump and your Senators and Congressional Representatives. Tell them that the federal government needs to step up to help our state and our communities deal with last years natural disaster. Urge them to address North Carolina disaster relief in their next budget agreement.
President Donald Trump
Fill out this online form or call the White House switchboard at 202-456-1414 or the comments line at 202-456-1111 during business hours.
Senator Richard Burr
Senator Thom Tillis
U.S. House of Representatives
Find your US House Representative at this link.
NC asks for $900M in flood relief, feds give $6.1M, Cooper says
How to Engage
It's tough to keep track of what is happening. Here are some ways to stay involved.
1. Call me or my legislative assistant Gina Insko at 919-733-7208 or email me at Inskola@ncleg.net with How can I get involved in the subject line.
2. Follow us on Twitter at @verlainsko and Facebook at Verla Insko.
3. Visit ncleg.net where you can see bills, listen to session, and see daily calendars.
4. Help us spread the word on social media or by forwarding this newsletter and other alerts or key news items.
As always, thank you for your support of my work in Raleigh as your representative. Please let me know of your position on issues, your suggestions for legislation and your requests for help.