NC House passes their version of budget to set up conference committee

House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Kings Mountain, gavels in a session as North Carolina legislators convene on the House floor (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, file)

RALEIGH — The N.C. House of Representatives approved its version of the state budget last week in a bipartisan vote to set up negotiations with the N.C. Senate on a final package to send to Gov. Roy Cooper.

The budget includes pay raises for teachers and state employees, additional bonuses for state workers and retirees, investments in disaster recovery and flood mitigation, and increased funding for education and infrastructure.

“This historic budget is transformative,” said senior Appropriations Chair Rep. Dean Arp (R-Union). “It fully funds the vision of a good North Carolina for all citizens.”

The budget includes a personal income tax cut from 5.25% to 4.99% and increases the zero-tax bracket to $25,500 for married filers.

The Senate’s budget aims to reduce the personal-income tax to 3.99% and also completely phases out the corporate-income tax. The House plan aims to reduce it to 1.99%.

In June, Senate Leader Phil Berger said, “A decade of responsible budgets and growth-oriented tax policy has North Carolina in the best fiscal shape in a generation. This surplus came largely out of the pockets of North Carolina citizens and they deserve to see some of it returned to them.”

The House plan also puts less money in the state’s rainy-day fund than the Senate.

The House budget also features the restoration of master’s pay for teachers and eliminates the required payroll substitute deduction for teachers who provide reason for taking personal leave during instruction days.

The final House vote was 72-41 with nine Democrats joining Republicans — but their support was criticized by fellow Democratic state Rep. Terrance Everitt (R-Wake), who said, “9 members of the @NCHouseDems voted to put their own political careers ahead of NC & voted for the GOP budget. The common thread among the 9 – all men.”

He continued, adding, “I’ve seen my Dem female colleagues fight for the people of NC regardless of the cost – whether in the midst of cancer treatment, loss, or simply closer to the end of their time w/ us than they ever publicly admitted. No matter how hard the vote they could not be intimidated and their votes could not be bought. My point is this – #ElectMoreWomen. Especially in Dem primaries.”

North State Journal reached out to Everitt, who is a man, to inquire whether he intends to resign or not seek another term given his comments, but he did not respond.

The budget will now go to conference, where House and Senate members will negotiate a compromise spending plan. Cooper, in an email to the Raleigh News & Observer, said he prefers the spending plans in the House budget, calling the Senate plan a “bad budget.”

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Matt Mercer is the editor in chief of North State Journal and can be reached at [email protected].