In news across the state, the North Carolina Senate is trying to decide how to spend taxpayer dollars over the next two years.
The Senate is voting on a bill that would give teachers and other state employees a raise.
The Senate’s proposed budget involves about $24 billion over 2 years.
The Senate’s budget plan over the next two years would not raise your taxes but it would likely set up a showdown with Democratic Governor Roy Cooper.
In the budget, teachers would get a 3% raise as well as $300 a year for school supplies.
Most state employees would also get a raise and people who take jobs in prisons with the lowest number of employees would get bonuses.
The budget also calls for clearing the backlog of untested rape kits, which has support by both democrats and republicans.
Senators want to see $1.1 billion set aside in the “Rainy Day Fund.”
Senator Jim Perry represents Lenoir and Wayne counties.
Perry said, “The mindset is, they want budgets that are more sustainable, and have some savings in case there’s a bad time period, recession, or another disaster, you’d have the ability to deal with that.”
This bill was written by Senate Republicans and it does not include expanding Medicaid even though Governor Cooper says it’s a central focus.
Perry said, “You’ve got to decide how to prioritize the money and the problem is, someone always disagrees.”
The proposed budget would also put $30 million towards expanding access to broadband in rural parts of the state.
A big part of the budget involves funding for Vidant Medical Center.
It included eliminating Vidant’s ability to be reimbursed as the primary affiliated teaching hospital for the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University.
The change would result in a $35 million annual cut to Vidant’s bottom line.
Governor Cooper’s office is already commenting on the Senate’s budget — they sent a statement saying, in part: “With their budget, Senate Republicans once again prioritize corporate tax cuts at the expense of public education — clean water and providing affordable health care for hard-working people in North Carolina.”