June 25, 2021

The North Carolina Senate voted yesterday on a proposed state budget that continues their approach to prudent, responsible management of state taxpayers’ money.

The budget – which passed 32-18 and included four Senate Democrats’ support – would cut the state’s personal income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 3.99 percent over the next five years.  It would also phase out North Carolina’s 2.5 percent corporate rate over the same five-year period. These rate cuts would save taxpayers $13.9 billion.

The Senate votes a final time on the budget today – typically a procedural vote – then moves it to the NC House for their changes.

The Senate’s budget addresses North Carolina infrastructure needs, spending more than $1 billion on water and sewer rehabilitations around the state and $700 million to expand rural broadband.

The budget gives an average of 3% raises to teachers and most other state employees over the next two years, and spends $5.4 billion in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds for coronavirus relief.

Governor Roy Cooper decried the budget proposal as expected with his same old criticism of the Reform Majority’s responsible approach:

“The Senate budget mortgages the future health and education of our people to the corporations and wealthiest among us ($13B tax cut),” he said on Twitter. “Just awful. A measly 1.5% raise for teachers next year after no raise last year? Thank goodness the budget process has a long way to go.”

What did you expect?  Especially from a governor who ironically vetoed budgets that increased teacher pay in recent years.

Thank goodness the governor is not in charge of the state budget – the Reform Majority leadership is.

Their disciplined, steady approach has time after time primed the pump of the state’s growing economy with their tax cuts and confidence-inspiring handling of the state’s fiscal matters.

So when the liberals jab and poke with their amendments aimed at adding untimely spending to the budget, it really isn’t taken seriously.

As Senate Leader Phil Berger said yesterday, the amendments that Democrats offered to the budget “amounted to $8 billion in extra spending,” and that “spending what you’ve got while you’ve got it works for a while, but ‘ when you get to the end of that, the promises to write the check can’t be kept’.”

Berger addressed what those who have followed the Reform Majority’s wisdom on fiscal issues know to be true, saying “We’ve seen this philosophy before….It just doesn’t work.”

The surplus of money that has accumulated in state coffers is a result largely due to the courage and discipline of our conservative leadership.  As Senator Paul Newton said yesterday, “The Senate has decided to return what we can to the taxpayers of North Carolina” – and pointed out that “a family of four making the state’s median income would see a 37 percent cut in their state income taxes if the proposed cuts are fully implemented.”

The Senate leadership’s decision now to give money back to taxpayers is timely and wise.