Legislative Update - June 18

As the June 30 deadline quickly approaches, the NC House has given final approval to its budget plan. The Republican majority voted 77-40 to adopt the proposal after nearly 11 hours of debate and votes on more than 25 amendments. The final vote on the full budget comes three weeks after the Republican-controlled Senate approved its proposal, which spends almost exactly the same amount as the House, or nearly $20.6 billion. It now heads back to the Senate for negotiations.

 

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I believe that this budget hurts middle class families. It slashes proven job creation programs even in the face of North Carolina’s high unemployment rate. It cuts education and schools -- the real engine of our future and long term job creation -- for the third year in a row. Instead of working to retain educators for our children, this budget denies teachers, and other state employees a much needed pay raise. The budget also increases costs and reduces access to health care for North Carolina's most vulnerable citizens, and will cause the middle class to shoulder most of the burden of tax increases as they continue recovering from the recession.

Listed below are some highlighted areas that will be affected by this budget:

  • No pay raises for teachers and also eliminates raises for educators who have advanced degrees
  • Diverts $50 million away from public schools and invests it into education vouchers for private and religious schools
  • Eliminates teacher assistants in elementary schools
  • Slashes community college funding by nearly $25 million
  • No expansion of Medicaid services provided to middle class families
  • Changes the eligibility requirements of Pre-K classrooms and affects at-risk students from receiving a proper early childhood education
  • Completely defunds minority and community economic development initiatives with proven track records of job creation
  • Places modest funds ($13 million over two years) into the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, as opposed to the $100 million investment in clean water that were previously made

In bipartisan support, the budget does set aside $10 million for the living victims of North Carolina's Eugenics Board program. Each survivor will receive $50,000 in compensation for undergoing involuntary surgeries that left them unable to reproduce through the state-sponsored program from 1929 through the mid-1970s. These individuals are more than deserving of this compensation. The government failed to protect its citizens and illegally stripped away their basic human rights without their consent. Although there is no amount of money that can compensate for the years of suffering these survivors have endured, it is morally important to correct this injustice. The past cannot be rewritten, but it’s time for our state to accept responsibility for its mistakes and ensure that justice finally prevails.

Also last week, final approval was given to the tax reform package. House Democrats attempted to run three amendments that would restore the state Earned Income Tax Credit and lower the electricity sales tax, but all were denied. We believe this bill is not tax reform, but rather a tax shift to the middle class. The Senate has unveiled its own competing tax reform proposal, but lawmakers will need to consent on the basic outlines of a tax plan in order to pass the state budget.

Finally, we commemorated the 238th birthday of the United States Army! On June 14, 1775, this military branch was established to defend our nation and we greatly appreciate their brave sacrifice and dedication in protecting this country.

Thank you for allowing me to represent you in Raleigh. Please feel free to contact my office to share your concerns on issues or if my office can be of any assistance to you.

Sincerely,

ValSig

REPRESENTATIVE VALERIE P. FOUSHEE
North Carolina House of Representatives
District 50: Orange & Durham Counties

Valerie.Foushee[at]ncleg[dot]net

919. 715-3019 (o) 919.754-3201 (f) 919.942-2661 (h)

 

Just so you know…
You can listen live to the chamber sessions, committee meetings, and press conferences on the General Assembly website: www.ncleg.net. Once on the site, click on “audio” and select House Chamber, Senate Chamber, Appropriations Committee Room, Finance Committee Room, or Press Conference Room.

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published this page in Blog 2013-09-12 13:59:32 -0400

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