Raleigh, N.C. – The North Carolina House of Representatives voted to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s budget veto in a bipartisan vote Wednesday, enacting another round of middle-class tax cuts and a fourth consecutive teacher pay raise despite Cooper’s partisan rejection of the historic plan that includes a records savings reserve.
“The governor chose partisanship over the people of North Carolina when he rejected middle class tax cuts and a fourth consecutive teacher pay raise,” Moore said, “but the General Assembly has delivered these priorities to North Carolinians without his support.”
Gov. Cooper’s Claims v. Reality
- Cooper’s Claim: North Carolina’s rapid economic growth, job creation, revenue surpluses and record savings are only due to the national economy improving, and should not be credited to decisions by Republican leaders in the state General Assembly.
- Reality: Thirty-three states faced budget shortfalls in 2017, while 23 made midyear budget reductions due to stagnant revenue collections, according to a ‘Fiscal Survey of States’ by the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO). Illinois could soon become the first state with a ‘junk’ credit rating. North Carolina, by contrast, has paid off $2 billion in debt since 2011 and saved a record $1.8 billion in reserves – a $4 billion swing – under Republican leadership. Moody’s Investor Service recently praised North Carolina’s fiscal responsibility and rainy day fund requirement as “credit positive” commitments. The nonpartisan Tax Foundation has moved North Carolina from 44th worst to 11th best in its State Business Tax Climate Index since the General Assembly lowered the sales tax rate, the income tax rate and the corporate tax rate statewide since 2011. The General Assembly has passed dozens of pro-growth regulatory reforms since 2011 that made a major impact on the state’s positive economic and fiscal outlook.
- Cooper’s Claim: The General Assembly’s tax relief only helps high-earners instead of low-income and middle class North Carolinians, and will “blow a hole” in the state budget.
- Reality: The General Assembly’s tax relief removes 95,000 low-income North Carolinians from any income tax liability. The General Assembly plan increases the percent of total tax liability for those making more than $100,000, and lowers the percent of total tax liability for those making less than $100,000. The Republican-led plan saves earners making less than $50,000 a higher percentage of their earnings than those making over $100,000, according to the legislature’s Fiscal Research Division. The General Assembly has tripled the zero-tax bracket for married families since 2013, helping those who earn the least, the most, and saving the middle class a higher percentage of their income tax liability than those making over $100,000. Republican tax relief has consistently produced record savings and budget surpluses this decade, contrasting the deficits and debt that resulted from four sales tax increases by Democrats last decade.
- Cooper’s Claim: The General Assembly doesn’t invest enough in education or teacher raises.
- Reality: North Carolina has had the fastest rising teacher pay in the nation since 2014, according to PolitiFactNC and National Education Association data. The 2017 state budget is the fourth consecutive teacher pay raise delivered to North Carolina educators by the Republican-led state legislature, which also increased total educating spending by hundreds of millions of dollars every budget cycle since 2012. The General Assembly also provides supplement incentive programs for North Carolina educators including Teach for America, Salary Supplements for Highly Qualified Graduates, the Teacher Assistant Tuition Reimbursement Program and the N.C. Teaching Fellows. UNC System President Margaret Spellings supports the General Assembly budget, saying it “signals greater investment in and strong support for the University,” furthering “accessibility, affordability and efficiency, and student success.” The 2017 state budget increases public education spending over $700 million from the previous biennium.
- Cooper’s Claim: The General Assembly’s budget is ‘small-minded’ and ‘the most fiscally irresponsible budget’ the governor has ever seen.
- Reality: The General Assembly budget saves a record ‘rainy day fund’ of $1.8 billion, the highest amount and percentage of the state budget in state history. Cooper’s proposed budget had only a 2% difference with the General Assembly’s total spending, his average teacher raise had less than half-a-percent difference, and the legislature funded the exact same amount of Hurricane Matthew relief he requested at $100 million. The state budget drew bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.
Economic Accolades for North Carolina 2016-2017
- ‘North Carolina lowers unemployment to 16-year best, adds third-most jobs in nation.’ North Carolina Department of Commerce June 2017
- ‘NC tourism generates record visitor spending in 2016.’ WRAL May 2017
- North Carolina ranks #1 in Site Selection’s Magazine’s Prosperity Cup, an index of economic drivers. Triangle Business Journal May 2017
- ‘The number of workers employed statewide (not seasonally adjusted) increased in February by 41,376 to 4,669,306.’ Department of Commerce April 2017
- ‘Unemployment Rates Decrease in All 100 North Carolina Counties.’ Department of Commerce April 2017
- ‘North Carolina hotels set record high occupancy and rates, while room revenue growth doubles the national average.’ VisitNC Lodging Report March 2017
- Each month of 2016 North Carolina had the highest hotel occupancy on record. VisitNC Lodging Report March 2017
- North Carolina excels in ‘Fiscal Survey of States’ – National Association of State Budget Officers March 2017
- ‘$552 million budget surplus announced.’ North State Journal February 2017
- North Carolina ranked #1 in the United States for IT employment growth by Tech Association study. Triangle Business Journal February 2017
- North Carolina ranks above all other states for percentage of women in the IT workforce. C. Tech Association State of Technology Report February 2017
- ‘Revenue picture remains good for North Carolina government’ with $332 million revenue surplus.’ Associated Press January 2017
- ‘North Carolina continues to provide income tax relief.’ Forbes December 2016
- North Carolina Ranks #2 in Site Selection’s 2016 Top State Business Rankings. Site Selection Magazine November 2016
- ‘North Carolina’s unemployment rate below national average.’ Washington Times September 2016
- ‘Raleigh and Charlotte named #2 and #7 in “America’s Top Spots for Tech Jobs.’ Forbes August 2016
- ‘Growing tax collections trigger corporate rate cut; revenues beat target by more than $300 million.’ Carolina Journal August 2016
- ‘North Carolina budget director reports $425 million surplus.’ Time Warner Cable News July 2016
- ‘Tax revenues have increased 6% this year, and the state has a $400 million budget surplus.’ Wall Street Journal June 2016
- ‘State budget cuts income taxes, raises teacher and state worker salaries.’ WRAL June 2016
- ‘North Carolina improves from #9 to #5 Top State for Business.’ CNBC June 2016
- ‘North Carolina has had the country’s fastest growing economy.’ Politifact April 2016
- ‘By G.D.P., North Carolina had fastest growing large economy in the nation.’ Triangle Business Journal March 2016