The state budget process is getting off to an early start in Raleigh, but it doesn’t appear it will be any less contentious than the last couple of state budgets.

In 2019, the Republican-led state legislature and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper never reached an agreement and the state operated on the base budget passed in 2017, with some amendments.

In 2021, the state legislature and Cooper finally reached a budget everyone could live with and Cooper signed it in mid-November, over four months after the start of the fiscal year.

Cooper released his proposed state budget on Wednesday, March 15, and state legislative leaders didn’t have much good to say about it. The two-year budget includes an 18 percent raise for teachers and an 8 percent raise for state employees.

President Pro Tem of the state Senate Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) in a press release stated, “This is an irresponsible, unserious proposal from a lame-duck governor who wants future North Carolinians to pick up his tab. Gov. Cooper wants to go on a reckless spending spree by raising taxes, raiding the state’s savings account, and proposing the largest increase in year-over-year spending in the state’s history. He is following the same failed Democratic playbook that is causing residents to flee blue states like New York, California, and Illinois.”

Speaker of the state House Rep. Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) in a press release said, “Governor Cooper’s budget proposal takes the same reckless approach to spending that his fellow Democrats have taken in Washington. Unfortunately, this kind of runaway spending has resulted in a failing economy that has left millions of Americans behind.”

He added, “The General Assembly will continue on the fiscally responsible path that has made our state attractive to so many. Now Governor Cooper is proposing a budget that effectively eliminates the tax cuts that will help North Carolinians make ends meet and have attracted families and businesses to our state. Over a decade of Republican budget leadership has put North Carolina on solid financial ground. This is no coincidence – our fiscally responsible approach to spending works.”