Posted by 15 June 2018
Thousands of teachers marched on the state capitol in Raleigh to greet North Carolina legislators as they started deliberations in mid-May. Their demands for higher pay found an ally in Democratic Governor Roy Cooper. His budget proposal would give teachers and state workers a salary increase. To pay for these plans and other spending hikes, he wants to cancel a scheduled tax decrease. The Republicans who control the legislature have other ideas.
Under Governor Cooper’s budget proposal, teachers would see a pay increase of 8%. The current budget provides a 6% pay increase for these teachers. The governor is also proposing a pay increase for state employees of 2% or $1,250, whichever is higher. State law enforcement officers would receive an additional $1,000 pay increase on top of that.
This would be paid for by halting some tax decreases that were passed in 2013. Instead of lowering the tax rate to 5.25% on households making income over $200,000, the governor wants to keep that tax rate at 5.499%. He would also like to cancel the tax rate decrease on corporate incomes.
Governor Cooper points out that North Carolina teacher salaries are below the national average. He says that with federal tax cut legislation, there is no longer a pressing need for all of North Carolina’s scheduled tax cuts to take effect.
Republican legislative leaders are wary of canceling tax decreases, pointing out that this would really be a tax increase for those who were scheduled to receive them. They say that they would like to help teachers, too, and are looking at using state money for one-time bonuses. Some legislators charge that the governor is using this issue as a political stunt in an election year.
Whatever legislators pass in the budget bill, it is subject to Governor Cooper’s veto.
Do you think that scheduled tax decreases should be stopped in order to give North Carolina teachers a raise of 8%?