North Carolina is going to have a budget in 2021.
It may not sound like big news, but it is.
North Carolina last had a budget in 2017, and has been operating off that base budget with some notable amendments for the past four years.
It is also worth noting that while Gov. Roy Cooper has announced he plans to sign the budget to be passed by the North Carolina General Assembly this week, the fiscal year began on July 1, so the 2021-2023 budget is four years and four-and-a-half months late.
After the stalemate in 2019, when Cooper vetoed the budget and the legislature was unable to override the veto or pass a budget that Cooper would sign, the Republican legislative leadership tried a different tack this year. After the state House and state Senate reached a resolution on the budget, rather than passing that budget and sending it to the governor as is the normal practice, the legislative leaders decided to negotiate with Cooper first. It was thought that by negotiating before firm positions had been taken that there would be more wiggle room for both sides, and evidently it worked.
Cooper did not get Medicaid expansion, which is what held up the budget in 2019, but he did get concessions on a number of other issues.
In the budget that still has to be passed and signed to become official, public school teachers will receive an average raise of 6.7 percent over the next two years.
School principals will receive a 2.5 percent raise over the next two years.
The budget also allocates $800 million from the lottery for school construction.
Most state employees will receive an average of a 5 percent raise and corrections officers an average of 7 percent.
There are also a bunch of bonuses. All state employees will receive a $1,000 bonus and teachers will receive at least additional $1,000 bonus. Some teachers will receive a total of $2,800 in bonuses.
The state budget lowers the personal income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 3.99 percent over the next six years. The state budget also eliminates corporate income tax entirely by 2031.
Military pensions will be tax free in North Carolina.
The total 2021-2022 state budget is $25.9 billion and the 2022-2023 budget, which the state legislature will start amending in a few months, is set at $27 billion.