McCrory signs state budget

Posted July 14

Gov. Pat McCrory signs the 2016-17 state budget in a ceremony at Shiloh Elementary School in Monroe on July 14, 2016. (Photo courtesy of Governor's Office)

— Gov. Pat McCrory signed the $22.3 billion state budget on Thursday at a Union County elementary school.

"This budget further fulfills my vision to increase average annual teacher pay to $50,000 for the first time in state history, provides a middle-class tax cut, makes college more affordable and makes much needed investments to improve mental health services, all while strengthening our position as one of the fastest-growing economies in the nation," McCrory said during the signing ceremony at Shiloh Elementary School in Monroe.

The budget raises teacher salaries by an average of 4.7 percent. Other state workers would get a 1.5 percent pay increase under the plan, plus a 0.5 percent bonus, while state retirees would get a one-time 1.6 percent increase to their pensions.

The budget also increases the personal exemption, income on which North Carolinians pay no taxes, by $2,000 for joint filers and $1,000 for single filers by the end of 2017. It also increases funding in the state reserve, or "rainy day," fund to a record 7.5 percent of the state budget.

Starting this fall, the budget freezes undergraduate tuition for students at all University of North Carolina schools who graduate in four years, and in-state tuition at Elizabeth City State University, UNC-Pembroke and Western Carolina University will drop to $500 per semester. Fee increases for students will be capped at 3 percent a year.

Meanwhile, the campaign of Attorney General Roy Cooper, McCrory's Democratic opponent in the gubernatorial race, criticized the governor's "campaign-style rally" to sign a spending plan that Cooper says doesn't do enough for teachers or middle-class families.

"This budget leaves North Carolina uncompetitive with neighboring states who are actively recruiting our best teachers out of state. Meanwhile, the governor has repeatedly refused to even meet with teachers who just want a real plan to improve our schools," Cooper campaign spokesman Ford Porter said in a statement. "This is exactly the kind of empty leadership we need to change in November."


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  • Kyle Clarkson Jul 15, 3:02 p.m.
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    I'm curious as to where the "partisan blinders" statement came from? The mistreatment of state employees is very bi-partisan. As a matter of fact, it was worse under Purdue/Easley. I was hoping McCrory would take a new initiative, but instead he followed in their footsteps. State employees are now ~20% behind market-related salary adjustments.

  • Matt Nickeson Jul 15, 2:53 p.m.
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    View quoted thread

    Those are rankings against the other states therefore national effects are already considered.

  • Jason Dallin Jul 15, 11:34 a.m.
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    Dear WRAL, that's a .05% one time bonus, NOT a .5% bonus. 50% bonus would be like winning the lottery to those employees!

  • Jim Halbert Jul 15, 8:45 a.m.
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    In all seriousness though, it's been calculated that 2/3 of the state's economy is tied to the national economy. A rising tide raises all boats. The nation is doing better as a whole, regardless of any individual state's ruling political party. It's easy to point at numbers and make the obvious conclusion that things are now better. It takes a bit more work to figure out WHY.

  • Jim Halbert Jul 15, 8:02 a.m.
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    View quoted thread

    Thanks, Obama.

  • Shandy Scott Jul 14, 3:47 p.m.
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    Before McCrory with Democrats responsible, we had a 2.5 billion dollar deficit. At the time it was the countries fifth largest. Our employment rate was 9.3% and ranked us a laughing stock 47th. Our overall tax burden rated us the 20th highest in the country according to the Tax Foundations web site. According to the Tax Foundation’s web site our business tax climate index was ranked 44th. Our teachers were paid at a rate of the 47th highest. We owed the federal Government 2.5 billion in unemployment benefits. Our state GDP was ranked 44th. Today we have paid off the 2.5 billion, our tax burden has fallen to 34th highest, our unemployment has dropped to 5.1% which ranks us 31st. The business tax climate index is now 15th. Our teachers pay is ranked 41st in the country. Our state GDP rank is now the ninth highest. We now have a 450 million dollar surplus for the year ending June 30, 2015 and a 425 million dollar surplus for the year ending June 30, 2016.

  • Matt Nickeson Jul 14, 3:20 p.m.
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    View quoted thread

    If those are so new then they overlap with your supposed funding decline. Also, you lay this problem upon the Republicans but they haven't been in control of the state for 10 years? It sounds more like you are grasping for anything to further your inflexible partisan position.

  • Evan Morris Jul 14, 3:00 p.m.
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    So begins the dismantling the University of North Carolina system, the state's Crown Jewel and most important engine of economic development.

    Cynically, the Republicans have wrapped the devastating caps and cuts with a pretty bow, making it appear to benefit students. In fact, they have accelerated the decline in funding support that goes back nearly 10 years.

    Those who are new to North Carolina do not realize that RTP was once scrub land or that the center for health and dental care in Greenville is relatively new. These grew from the UNC System. It deserves better than the cheap gimmicks of the Legislature.

  • Matt Nickeson Jul 14, 2:12 p.m.
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    View quoted thread

    Please do explain, exactly, how this is very sad? Our state now has a balanced budget and is developing a contingency fund. Our ranking for business attractiveness is on the rise. The pay for teachers is being raised above inflation to make up a gap with the national average. The pay for state employees has been unfrozen and at least adjusted for inflation. This pay will likely be raised in subsequent budgets. There is a lot to like about the current situation in the state and this budget in particular. Sometimes it helps to take the partisan blinders off and recognize the good along with the bad.

  • Teddy Fowler Jul 14, 2:03 p.m.
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    Lean and mean.... small gov't is better gov't.... don't spend more than you got... so to me its a great budget