Tillis statement on Governor’s budget proposal

ThomTillisRALEIGH, N.C. — Speaker of the House Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) issued the following statement Wednesday in response to Gov. Pat McCrory’s budget proposal:

“Gov. McCrory’s budget is a great starting point and we look forward to working with the Senate as it moves through the legislative process.  As a result of tightening the budget earlier this year, we remain confident that we will be able to move forward with legislative priorities including state employee and teacher raises.”


Berger statement on Governor’s budget proposal

PhilBergerRALEIGH, N.C. — Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) issued the following statement Wednesday in response to Gov. Pat McCrory’s budget proposal:

“We appreciate Gov. McCrory’s leadership in crafting a balanced budget proposal that prioritizes increasing teacher pay and developing our domestic energy sector without raising taxes. The Senate looks forward to reviewing the governor’s plan in greater detail as part of our appropriations process.”

Senate leaders received an overview of the governor’s proposal on Tuesday afternoon, and the Joint Appropriations/Base Budget Committee will begin the process of reviewing the detailed plan on Thursday.


Governor McCrory unveils budget proposal

PatMcCrory1RALEIGH, N.C. — Teacher and state employee pay raises, increased environmental protection and continued operational reforms are given high priority in Governor Pat McCrory’s short session recommended budget.

The proposed $20.99 billion budget is 1.7 percent more than the certified budget passed by the General Assembly last session. It does not include any new general tax increases.

“This budget invests in our people, our environment and continues the reforms that have put North Carolina back on the right track,” said Governor McCrory. “This budget is not painless, but it does increase opportunity, improve our quality of life and makes North Carolina a more affordable place to live.”

Column: New Taxes and Tax Law Changes in the Upcoming Session

SarahCurryby Sarah Curry

The Revenue Laws Study Committee has met regularly during legislative interims since 1979, and this year was no different.  The committee had its final meeting yesterday and released a draft of its Omnibus Tax Law Changes.  This bill will be introduced to the 2014 legislature for approval.  Most of the components of the bill are clarifications and corrections to last year’s tax reform package.  But fixing problems with last year’s tax reform package wasn’t the only thing that was discussed and proposed by the committee.  There was the creation of a new excise tax on e-cigarettes, a new excise tax on biodiesel fuel, and a new business privilege license tax for local governments.

House Leaders Highlight Teacher and State Employee Pay Raises among Legislative Priorities for Short Session

NCGARALEIGH, N.C. – Speaker of the House Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) and House leaders highlighted legislative priorities for this year’s short session that began Wednesday at noon.

Teacher and state employee pay raises remain the top priority for House members during the short session.  The plan, first announced in February with other Republican leaders, includes a first step to raise entry-level pay for teachers years one through seven by almost 14 percent over the next two years to bring starting pay to among the top tier in the region. The House leaders again stated another priority is state employee and veteran teacher raises.

Short Session of General Assembly Has Lengthy Agenda

by Barry Smith

BarrySmithRALEIGH — This year’s short session of the General Assembly may live up to its name.

Lawmakers return to the capital today for the first time since the historic 2013 session in which they reformed the tax code, cut taxes, enacted broad changes to election laws, fought back against Medicaid expansion and Obamacare, and tightened up the state’s unemployment insurance program.

“I truly believe for the first time in my 30 years around the legislature that there may be something true about the title of this session,” said Sen. Dan Blue, D-Wake, the Senate’s minority leader. “It might be a short session.”

Apodaca, Berger File Governor’s Coal Ash Plan

NCGARALEIGH, N.C. — To kick off the start of the 2014 short session, Senate Rules Committee Chairman Tom Apodaca (R-Henderson) and Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) filed a bill Wednesday morning consisting of Gov. Pat McCrory’s coal ash mitigation proposal. It was the first bill filed in the Senate this session.

“Addressing the environmental concerns presented by coal ash ponds remains one of the Senate’s top priorities for this short session,” said Apodaca and Berger. “It’s important to get this conversation started right away, and Gov. McCrory’s proposal to handle the Dan River coal ash spill and other coal ash ponds is a good starting point.”

NCDOT’s Ferry Division To Take Part In Security Exercise

ncdotCHERRY BRANCH, N.C. — Today the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division is participating in a program with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) team, Craven and Carteret County Sheriff departments and emergency services, the United States Coast Guard Sector North Carolina, ferry terminals at Cherry Branch, Minnesott Beach, Pamlico River and Cedar Island and all vessels attached. This is an exercise in which local and federal agencies work together to supplement existing security resources.

Berger: Supreme Court Rescues Opportunity Scholarships for Low-Income Kids

RALEIGH, N.C. — N.C. Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) issued the following statement Wednesday upon learning of the North Carolina Supreme Court’s decision to allow a program offering opportunity scholarships to low-income children to go forward while a legal challenge works its way through the lower courts:

“The Supreme Court made the right decision today, and I am pleased that thousands of low-income children across North Carolina will have the opportunity to attend a school that best meets their needs in the coming school year.”

Opinion: Public school funding: Where does the money come from?

TerryStoopsby Dr. Terry Stoops

One of the unique characteristics of education funding in North Carolina is the fact that a relatively high percentage of revenue comes from state sources.  According to National Education Association (NEA) estimates for the 2013-14 school year, the national average share of state revenue for public education is just over 46 percent.  In North Carolina, it exceeds 61 percent, which is the highest in the southeast and the eighth highest nationally. North Carolina’s state revenue share is an outlier in the region.  (See Facts and Stats below for the state-by-state ranking.)