Over the past four decades, raises for North Carolina educators and state employees have ranged from zero to 10%, with most falling in the 5% area, according to The News and Observer.
In the latest Republican-led Senate budget bill passed last month, state employees and educators would receive the short end of the stick, with a measly raise of 3% over two years — essentially 1.5% each of the next two years. The stingy pay raise comes amid the state’s influx of federal funding and billions in unreserved state funds — underscoring Republican’s unwillingness to support educators and state employees with living wages.
- In March, Gov. Roy Cooper proposed a state budget that would give teachers 10% raises over two years, increase education funding and include raises for other state-funded employees.
- Despite Gov. Roy Cooper’s budget proposal, Republicans in the state Senate chose to prioritize tax cuts that would overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy and corporations in their latest budget.
- “When presented with $6.5 billion in unexpected revenue, the NC Senate has opted to reward North Carolina educators for working nonstop to support our students through the most difficult school year in history with a pitiful 1.5 percent annual pay raise,” said Tamika Kelly, President of the NC Association of Educators.
Investments in affordable housing, small businesses, the sound basic education that the state has a constitutional obligation to provide and expanding Medicaid to ensure that North Carolinians can receive care when they need it, will go woefully unmet if the Senate budget becomes set in stone.
As we wait for the House budget proposal, lawmakers must consider investing in educators and state employees who have for so long gone without adequate raises and are having to take on multiple jobs just to make ends meet.
We’re facing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to address long-standing unmet needs and invest in a North Carolina that supports all North Carolinians. This is where our lawmakers must decide whether they will join with Gov. Roy Cooper in meeting the moment or fail to stand up for the issues that matter.