Gov. Cooper urges legislators to prioritize investments in public education, health care
Special to SVLfreenews.com
RALEIGH -- Gov. Roy Cooper is urging Republican legislators to use recently announced surplus revenue to invest in public education and health care in the 2019-2021 state budget.
“Seize this easy choice to strengthen North Carolina’s schools and health care,” Cooper wrote in a letter to lawmakers. “Let’s show the nation that we are the public education leader and that businesses are making a good choice to locate here.”
Cooper’s proposed 2019-2021 budget, "Investments for a Determined North Carolina," recommends investments in education, health care and more without raising taxes or fees.
The governor’s plan puts North Carolina on a path to become best in the Southeast in teacher pay in four years, with teachers getting an average pay raise of 9.1% over two years. Cooper’s budget would also invest in efforts to recruit, retain and support quality teachers, offers more professional development opportunities and expands the Teaching Fellows program.
The governor’s budget also recommends $40 million to hire more school nurses, counselors, psychologists, social workers and school resource officers, as well as $15 million for safety improvements and training at K-12 schools.
To bring $4 billion into North Carolina’s economy, create an estimated 40,000 jobs and provide more affordable health care for 500,000 people, Cooper’s budget also recommends expanding Medicaid. Medicaid expansion would help rural hospitals keep their doors open, help fight the opioid epidemic and secure North Carolina’s share of federal tax dollars that are currently paying to support Medicaid expansion in other states.
Cooper’s plan also invests more than $95 million over two years in early education and child development, helping implement North Carolina’s Early Childhood Action Plan. It adds over 2,000 more childcare subsidy slots each year for children from low-income working families to receive high-quality care and helps more children attend high-quality Pre-K. Smart Start would see a 10 percent increase to support families and children in all 100 counties, including by expanding home visiting programs.