June 15, 2012. RALEIGH — The North Carolina Senate on Thursday, June 14, passed adjustments to the two-year bipartisan budget implemented last June.
The current budget filled a $2.5 billion deficit Republicans inherited after assuming leadership of the General Assembly, reduced government spending by nearly $1 billion, enacted a $50,000 income tax exemption for job-creating businesses and reformed public education – without raising taxes or incurring debt.
Highlights of the Senate’s budget adjustment include:
· It restores $158 million in recurring state dollars that were scheduled to be cut in the second year back into the state’s K-12 education system.
· It continues to fully fund at the state level all classroom teachers and teaching assistants. In fact, it increases state level funding for teachers.
· It provides $47.4 million for an education reform program to strengthen student literacy, improve graduation rates, increase accountability in the classroom, reward effective teachers and give parents tools to make better informed decisions about their children’s education.
· It puts $288 million back into Medicaid to cover liabilities created while Democrats controlled the General Assembly. The bill also establishes a $100 million Medicaid reserve fund to address future potential shortfalls.
· It cuts and freezes the state gas tax to 37.5 cents per gallon – 1.4 cents per gallon less than the current rate.
· It provides state employees a 1.2 percent raise. Our K-12, community college and university systems are given some flexibility on how to use this money to recruit, retain and reward excellent instructors.
“Throughout the budget debate, we’ve heard Democrats fight to raise taxes on job creators, deny improvements to our public schools, ignore major funding shortfalls in Medicaid, and resume the same wasteful spending that left our state with a $2.5 billion deficit last year,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham). “In spite of their demagoguery, I’m proud the Senate was able to improve the sound budget we already have in place and make smart investments in our future.”
Photo on front page courtesy of the North Carolina General Assembly website.