The General Assembly convened the Short Session on May 16. Last year, during the Long Session, the General Assembly passed the State Budget to fund the operations of the state for a two-year cycle. However, as you can imagine, North Carolina experiences quite a bit of changes within a two-year period.
Thankfully, North Carolina has one of the fastest growing economies in the United States, and our government must keep up with the increased population and new revenues. With that in mind, the main purpose of the Short Session is to make adjustments to the two-year budget passed during the Long Session.
We began this Short Session with some excellent news. Due to our state’s pro-growth economic policies, North Carolina generated a fourth consecutive revenue surplus of $356.7 million and we expect a fifth consecutive surplus of $276.5 million next year.
As Chairman of the Agriculture, Natural & Economic Resources Appropriations Committee, I am tasked with overseeing the budgets for the departments of Agriculture, Environmental Quality, Commerce, Natural and Cultural Resources, and the Wildlife Resources Commission. In this portion of the budget, we have worked to increase governmental efficiency while continuing to fund North Carolina’s core priorities.
In the overall State Budget (Senate Bill 99):
* State Highway Patrolmen will receive an average 8% salary increase;
* Starting State Trooper pay increases to $44,000;
* Top State Trooper pay increases to $64,200;
* Correctional officer salaries increase by 4%;
* $11.8 million is added to the already appropriated $271 million in FY 2018-19 to increase pay for veteran teachers and instructional support staff;
* Teacher pay increases by an average of 6.5%;
* For the first time in our state’s history, permanent state employee pay is set to at least $31,200;
* All State Employees receive a 2% salary raise;
* Under this budget, 99% of all North Carolinians will pay less in taxes, or pay no state income taxes at all.
I would also like to point out that the budget includes legislation I filed (House Bill 966). This legislation increases the death benefits for our public safety and correctional officers to $100,000.
This budget accomplishes the goals of funding our core priorities and rewarding our hardworking employees while also being good stewards for the taxpayers. Under this budget, 99% of North Carolinians will pay less in income taxes or pay no state income taxes at all.
On June 6th, Governor Roy Cooper vetoed this budget. I’m disappointed that the governor vetoed State Trooper salary increases, teacher salary increases, state employee salary increases and tax relief for an overwhelming majority of North Carolinians.
The governor’s veto was overridden by both the House (73-44) and Senate (34-13) on June 12th and is now law.
It is an honor to serve you in Raleigh. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our office if we can ever be of assistance to you. You may reach us by phone at (919) 733-5609 or by email at Kyle.Hall@ncleg.net.