North Carolina Senate Republicans release budget proposal

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- North Carolina Republicans in the state Senate released their budget proposal Tuesday.

"We're continuing what we started in 2011, which is to have budgets that are balanced," NC Sen. Phil Berger (R-26th District) said.

The $23.9 billion spending plan has a heavy focus on education. The average teacher would receive a 3.5 percent raise over two years--bringing the average teacher salary to more than $54,000.

SEE ALSO: Cooper budget offers 9.1% teacher pay raise over 2 years

"In the last five years, we've raised teacher pay about 20 percent," NC Sen. Harry Brown (R-6th District) said.

The proposal also commits $4.8 billion over 10 years for school construction--which is a check usually written by individual counties.

Republicans said the proposal would also provide funding for 100 new school psychologists.

"Right now we have 600 state funded psychologists. With this proposal every school district will have at least one," Brown said.

Overall state employees would see raises across the board. Correctional officers would receive a 5 percent raise over two years.

A Medicaid expansion is not included in the proposal. Berger said most people that would be included in a medicaid expansion are healthy and 18 to 50 years old.

"Basically the incentives of providing coverage for those folks is something that disincentivizes folks to go to work," Berger said.

Gov. Roy Cooper disagrees.

"This budget leaves out Medicaid expansion that would close the health care coverage gap, and it shortchanges public schools in exchange for more corporate tax cuts. The Governor hopes to continue working with the House and Senate on a budget that does more to help hard working North Carolinians."

The proposal will now go up for debate. When asked if the Senate Republicans thought they could get support from the House and the Governor, they said they believe this is the best budget and it should be supported.
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