North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore, a Kings Mountain Republican, confirmed Tuesday that many of the highest priority items in a draft version of a new $30 billion House budget shared with The News & Observer were in their finalized form and had been negotiated with the Senate, including raises for state employees and teachers.
Medicaid expansion and the legalization of four new state-sanctioned casinos were not in the new House budget bill and instead had been pushed into another bill, which was still being finalized, Moore said. The N&O also obtained a draft copy of this bill.
It’s unclear whether this House GOP maneuver to separate Medicaid and casinos from the budget has support from the Senate. Senate Leader Phil Berger, an Eden Republican, was not at the General Assembly session Tuesday morning. It’s also unclear whether Democrats will sign on to the casino and Medicaid bill, though both the Senate and House Democratic caucuses formalized their near-unanimous disapproval Monday.
Here’s a look at what raises for state employees and others would be under this new budget bill:
State employees and bus drivers
The budget plan would provide:
▪ State employee raises of 7% over two years, with 4% in the first year and 3% in the second year. The prior House budget version provided state employee raises of 7.5% over two years. This exempts certain state employees such as State Highway Patrol employees, who would be compensated differently.
▪ School bus drivers would earn an additional 2% on top of the across-the-board raises, giving them a total raise of 9% over two years.
▪ A one time 4% cost-of-living adjustment would be given to retired state employees.
The House budget sets a salary schedule for teachers based on years of experience.
▪ Moore said the budget calls for an average 7% raise for teachers over the next two years and a $30 million rural supplement. Increases in the state’s base salary are larger for early career teachers than for veteran teachers, with raises ranging from 3.6% to 10.8% based on experience. Moore said Tuesday he would “frankly have liked to have seen more raises,” but “this was a compromise position that we took with the other chamber.” He said he would like to “beef up” the second year raises in the biennium next year with new fiscal numbers. The Senate provided in its earlier budget version a 4.5% average raise over the next two years.
▪ Teachers with national board certifications, degrees and other licenses would receive additional bonuses. There is also a “small county and low-wealth” signing bonus for teachers, with the state matching up to $1000 in local funds.
Community colleges and university employees
▪ Community college faculty and non-faculty personnel will get an across-the-board salary increase of 4% in 2023 and 3% in 2024. University of North Carolina employees will also get this raise.
Raises for Elected Officials
Governor: A raise of almost $40,000, or 22.5%, over the next two years. Democratic Gov. Cooper, who is in his last term, currently makes $165,750.
Non-elected legislative employees: A raise of 7.5% over the next two years.
Apart from the Governor, other Council of State members, including the lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, auditor, treasurer, labor commissioner, agriculture commissioner, insurance commissioner and superintendent of public schools — will get a raise of nearly $22,000, or 14.9% over two years.
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