State Budget Clears Senate With Overwhelming Bipartisan Support
Responsible spending plan accounts for inflation with new billion-dollar reserve
Education funding is $1 billion more than previous fiscal year
A veto-proof supermajority voted to support the budget
Raleigh, N.C. — Today the North Carolina Senate voted 38–9 to tentatively approve the “2022 Appropriations Act.” The spending plan — a revision to the two-year budget passed last year — increases net appropriations from last fiscal year by 7.2% for a total of $27.9 billion.
“Heading into this short session, North Carolinians told us the strain inflation was having on their family’s finances was one of their top concerns,” Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) said. “Inflation is still wildly out of control, which is why it is imperative the state remains prudent in its spending decisions. These budget adjustments better prepare North Carolina for the economic turmoil that many expect to come.”
The “2022 Appropriations Act” includes several provisions that address future economic uncertainty and the current needs of the state:
- Transfers $1 billion into a new Stabilization and Inflation Reserve.
- Includes $250 million for a reserve to help defray cost overruns for state capital projects due to inflation.
- Provides $833 million for water and wastewater infrastructure projects, bringing the total for the biennium to $2.5 billion.
- Brings education funding to a total of $16.5 billion, an additional $1 billion over the fiscal year 2021–22 amount.
- Increases the base starting salary for entry-level teachers.
- Increases pay raises for teachers to an average of 4.2%.
- Expands the income eligibility for the Opportunity Scholarship Program.
- Redirects 2% of sales tax revenue — approximately $193.1 million — to the Highway Fund, increasing to 6% in 2024–25 and thereafter.
Because of responsible spending by the Republican-led General Assembly over the last decade, North Carolina is in a position of strength. During the last recession, we were facing a $3.5 billion budget shortfall. Democrats had to freeze teacher pay and furlough state employees. This bill is a safeguard that will help North Carolina now, and set the state up for success in the future.
The state Senate is scheduled to give final approval to the budget on Friday. After both chambers of the General Assembly approve the budget it will go to Gov. Roy Cooper for his consideration.