The North Carolina Senate on Thursday passed a $22.225 billion budget that invests hundreds of millions of additional dollars in public education and other core priorities, cuts taxes on the middle class, controls the growth of government spending, bolsters the state’s savings, and dramatically increases teacher pay.
Budget highlights include:
- It adds $583 million to the state’s rainy day fund, meeting the statutory requirement of an 8 percent funding reserve for the first time ever.
- It lays the groundwork for a bold plan for teachers to see their see their average pay surge to nearly $55,000 within two years for the first time in state history. If the proposal becomes law, average teacher pay will be up almost $10,000 – more than 20 percent – since the 2013-14 school year. And it launches a pilot program that will reward the top 25 percent of third grade reading teachers with bonuses of up to $6,800 for outstanding performance.
- It provides major tax relief to the middle class and small businesses by making the first $17,500 a family earns exempt from income tax, with a family making the N.C. median household income of $44,000 annually seeing an additional tax cut of $110 next year.
- And it includes provisions to help make college far more affordable and accessible to students across the state, guaranteeing no in-state tuition increases for a standard undergraduate college term at all North Carolina public universities.
“This fiscally responsible budget benefits all North Carolinians by allowing a typical family to keep an additional $110 by making the first $17,500 of their income tax-free, including a plan to raise average teacher pay to $55,000, ensuring tuition does not increase at public universities school during a student’s four years in college and by making a generous investments in public education, transportation and other core priorities,” said Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham.)