No teacher raise in NC Senate budget

North Carolina State Legislative Office Building (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)
May 11, 2010 3:23:38 PM PDT
Senate Democrats say their budget for North Carolina state government will contain neither pay raises for teachers nor a bonus for all state employees to pay them back for last year's furlough.

Gov. Beverly Perdue sought the items in her budget proposal last month, but Senate Democrats told reporters on Tuesday both will be left out of the plan they'll roll out next week.

Perdue wanted lawmakers to restore the longevity-based salary increase for teachers suspended last year due to the bad economy. Perdue also wanted to give employees and teachers a bonus equal to 0.5 percent of their salaries.

The average state worker makes about $41,000 a year. Last year, their pay was cut by one half of one percent and workers were furloughed for the un-paid time.

Senate leader Marc Basnight said it's hard to justify pay increases when the unemployment rate is so high.

"We have unemployment pushing 20 percent in some counties," he told reporters Tuesday.

Senate leaders of the governor's same party also say the economy is so bad, and private employees are hurting so much, that teachers should not get their traditional pay raise either.

The Step Increase was cancelled last year as well. Next year's scheduled payraise of 1.8 percent for 104,000 teachers would cost $61 million.

"Why would we cut teachers and then give other teachers some raises," asked Sen. Linda Garrou, (D) Forsyth Co.

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