Rep. Kyle Hall has spent the past several weeks serving on the conference committee to negotiate with the Senate and craft the state budget.
“I was one of two new members to serve on this committee,” Hall said. “Late last month, the General Assembly approved the final state budget, overriding Governor Cooper’s veto with bipartisan support.”
According to Hall, key items in the state budget include: teacher pay increases by an average of 3.3 percent this year and an average 9.6 percent over two years, veteran teachers with 25 years or more experience receive a $5,000 bonus and more than $35 million provided to substantially increase principal and assistant principal pay, including funds for performance bonuses for principals. Public education spending increases by $700 million and a new N.C. Teaching Fellows Program is restored to encourage the next generation of educators to enter the teaching profession. State employees pay increases by $1,000, state retirees receive a permanent one percent cost of living adjustment and the state’s rainy day fund is at its highest in state history.
“This budget provides much needed tax relief for all families and businesses. It delivers $530 million in tax relief, with 99 percent of taxpayers either paying less personal income taxes or paying no personal income taxes at all. It also increases the standard deduction to $20,000 effective in 2019,” Hall said.
Stokes County is slated to receive various grants for projects. Hall said the Town of Walnut Cove receives $90,000 for downtown revitalization, which he hopes the council will use for the restoration of the old Palmetto Theater on Main Street. The City of King receives $90,000 for downtown revitalization and Make a Difference in King, a 501(c)(3) organized by local citizens, receives a $170,000 grant to match the group’s private fundraising effort of $140,000 to construct a playground for special needs children.
“Despite having strong bipartisan support in both chambers of the legislature, Governor Roy Cooper vetoed the budget. I was indeed very disappointed that Governor Cooper would reject a bipartisan, balanced budget that reduces taxes for all families and businesses, invests in our teachers, state employees and retirees, and saves for our state’s future,” Hall said. “Despite this setback in the process, the General Assembly voted to override the veto. We’re now adjourned until August, 2017.”
Amanda Dodson may be reached at 336-813-2426.