The House gave approval to its $22.2 billion spending plan Thursday morning on a 103-12 third reading vote after only an hour of discussion.
The voting matched the Wednesday night tally where the budget was approved on second reading.
The Senate will now draft its own budget. The two chambers will have to reach a compromise to send to the governor for signing before the start of the new fiscal year, July 1. Senate leaders say they expect a budget by Memorial Day.
The approved House budget includes raises for teachers and state employees, tax cuts, additional allotments to the state rainy day fund, and added funding education and transportation.
The budget represents a 2.3 increase over the current spending plan.
Thirty Democrats joined every present Republican in voting in favor of the budget, though the House Minority Leader Rep. Larry Hall (D-Wake) voted against the bill.
“North Carolina is on the move. Over the past 5 years, the Republican majority has erased massive state debt, lowered taxes and slashed red tape – making our state one of the fastest growing economies in the country,” House Speaker Rep. Tim Moore (R-Clevelnd) said. “That is why today, our State is in position to pass a budget that provides meaningful raises for our teachers and public safety officials, reinvests in our critical infrastructure, and shores-up the rainy day fund – all while cutting taxes and restraining spending. When you pass a spending plan that does all of those things, you see widespread and bipartisan support like we did in this week’s landmark House budget vote. I commend my colleagues in the House for their hard work and commitment to passing this budget that funds critical needs while still focusing on core conservative principles.”
Raises for teachers and state employees
Under the bill approved in the House, most teachers will get a 3 percent salary increase, in addition to whatever salary increases they are on track for based on their experience. Other state employees would receive a 2 percent salary increase.
The average increase for teachers will come to 4.1 percent in the coming year.
Both teachers and other state employees will also receive $500 bonuses.
Also included in the $460 million for teacher and employee raises is funding for salary increases for state troopers and court clerks and magistrates.
Raises will also go to agents of the State Bureau of Investigation and Alcohol Law Enforcement. Pay scale increases for correctional officers will be fully funded.
Under the bill, state retirees would get a 1.6 percent cost of living adjustment.
Tax cuts and increased state savings
The budget increases the zero tax bracket by $2,000 over a four-year period to include more taxpayers.
The budget will also funnel an additional $300 million into the rainy day fund, bringing it to $1.4 billion, to bolster the state’s coffers for the next economic downturn.