North Carolina is now seven months into a budget year. State lawmakers came back to the General Assembly in Raleigh last week in hopes of finally passing a full state budget. Instead, GOP leaders who control the legislature adjourned after only one day. They refused to compromise on a pay raise for teachers and other public educators.
- GOP lawmakers offered only a 3.9% pay raise for teachers over TWO YEARS, while they insist on cutting corporate taxes by another $800 MILLION over five years, including tax cuts for jet fuel, NASCAR, and even a big tobacco company.
- Gov. Cooper wanted a 9.1% pay raise for teachers over two years but said last fall he was willing to negotiate educator pay outside of the issues of Medicaid expansion. Republicans refused.
- Instead of compromising, the GOP leader of the state Senate doubled down on his extreme obstructionism and threatened not to pass a state budget for next year as well.
- As one state Senator noted last week, Republicans refused to call a budget vote not because there were not enough lawmakers to vote, but because there were too many lawmakers present for the GOP to win the vote.
- As the Winston-Salem Journal notes: The GOP’s “underhanded tactics and failure to compromise ultimately cheat the voters, whom we hope take notice and respond accordingly in November.”
- Meantime, a growing number of educators are taking notice of the gridlock in Raleigh and blaming the GOP-controlled state legislature for their refusal to compromise.
- Greenville Daily Reflector: “Amanda Smith – State putting the squeeze on teachers.”
- Greensboro News & Record: “Why teachers blame the GOP-legislature for no pay raise before the holidays.”
- WUNC: “Teachers Mostly Blame General Assembly for Not Getting a Raise”
- WBTV: “NC teachers back governor’s choice to veto pay-raise bills”
- NC Policy Watch: “Make no mistake. The budget failed because Republicans failed to compromise.”
Bottom Line: GOP lawmakers have refused to acknowledge the need for higher pay for educators across the state. Educators have felt abandoned for years and lawmakers need to stop using livelihoods as political leverage and instead, pass a budget that will fully support educators, schools and students.