@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

Smaller Medicaid shortfall could mean more state raises

Posted April 17

— A key state lawmaker said Thursday that a rosier-than-expected budget forecast for the Medicaid program could mean that there's enough in the 2014-15 budget to provide modest raises to all state workers.

State Department of Health and Human Services officials actually raised the top projection for the Medicaid shortfall from $130 million to $140 million, but they said that they believe that number is firm and final.

Rep. Nelson Dollar, the lead House budget writer, said that might be enough to provide modest raises for all state workers and teachers.

"The numbers will be tight, and it probably won’t be as generous as we would like to be, but I’m fairly confident we’ll be able to," said Dollar, R-Wake.

House and Senate leaders and Gov. Pat McCrory have already proposed a $176 million plan to raise salaries for beginning teachers over the next two years. North Carolina's starting teacher pay is lower than surrounding states.

That plan caused an outcry from veteran teachers and state workers who haven't had a substantial raise since 2008.

State leaders have repeatedly said that any raises beyond the plan to increase starting teacher salaries would depend on the Medicaid shortfall. Dollar said the Medicaid numbers are good enough that lawmakers may have enough money to do both.

"Once those numbers are finalized, as long as we haven’t had any surprises in the process, it is certainly the desire of the General Assembly to provide some modest raise for hard-working teachers and hard-working state employees," he said.

Dollar warned that the plans could change if the state sees a so-called "April surprise" – the tax-time changes in state revenue that can make or break a budget. So far this year, income tax collections have been running below target, while corporate and sales taxes have been above projections.

26 Comments

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  • mike275132 Apr 21, 2:13 p.m.

    Less Welfare Benefits , more raises for State workers .

    Interesting trade off-
    Less Benefits would mean less State employees required....

  • goldenosprey Apr 21, 12:42 p.m.

    A pay raise... that is one way of helping the poor. Those poor poor State employees.

    Speaking of... View More

    — Posted by mep

    State employees have seen the cost of living increase with no accompanying pay raise. Don't cry for them, simply wave goodbye as they find other jobs in other states and sectors, leaving us with a void when we need state government to render needed services.

    BTW, you know those industrialized countries have socialized medicine, right?

  • Danny22 Apr 21, 12:19 p.m.

    I don't think we can paint a "rosy" picture because Obamacare is on the way,

  • Rebelyell55 Apr 21, 8:58 a.m.

    After reading some other articles on the cost increase in gas, grocery, utility, taxes, etc. any raise is already spent, and they'll still be behind the eight ball. Current policy in place will continue to increase the "gap" and so long as that continues, then most better begin getting along with less. This mean less money going into the economy and that will create a dip in the ecomony recovery.

  • YourConscience Apr 19, 2:02 p.m.

    Smoke in mirrors. Won't believe there's a raise until I see it. My dear republicans will use it to give more tax cuts to us wealthier folk, just like last year. I could use the extra money to upgrade my inground pool. The teachers and state employees are fine.

  • Rebelyell55 Apr 19, 10:27 a.m.

    But in the other article they're talking about a 21 million cost to the state on NC Fast? How that getting paid for?

  • sunshine1040 Apr 18, 5:41 p.m.

    Gee and who was Governor of our state or had the the majority of legislature It was not McCrory nor were our House and Senate leader Republicans for those of you with short memories

  • wayneboyd Apr 18, 3:22 p.m.

    Good management indicator. Sounds like the way most Americans handle their finances.
    Example, my cousin just did my taxes and I'm getting a $3,000.00 refund, it comes so I think since my old clunker is on its last leg. I'll invest my refund in a new car. I finance my new ride for the max so my refund each year will cover the cost of my new car. Then comes late September and the IRS sends me a letter that my cousin has made a minor error on my return, and I'll need four months of car payments to rectify it and now I'm looking at this for SEVEN years. Oh my what will I do.
    Well in the private sector, you forfeit your car your good credit and buy another clunker.
    With government you simply raise taxes, problem solved!

  • nufsaid Apr 18, 2:35 p.m.

    Maybe they're finally realizing that teachers want out of this state. Probably too little, too... View More

    — Posted by sisu

    If teachers are able to choose to apply and obtain better paying jobs good for them. Lots of people are having a hard time finding any job.

  • mep Apr 18, 11:01 a.m.

    A pay raise... that is one way of helping the poor. Those poor poor State employees.

    Speaking of teachers, the average teacher salary in other industrialized countries is only $31K per year... and their kids test better too. Hummmmm.

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