Budget Announcements Ramping Up As Lawmakers Plan Votes For Next Week

RALEIGH – Republican leaders filed their conference report for budget modifications earlier this week and specific announcements about its provisions are starting in earnest.

In the shadow of the teacher pay narrative, state employees will get a boost in this year’s appropriations bill. The relevant provisions give state employees a two percent bump in pay, four percent for correctional officers, and a one percent bump for state retirees.

In total, $109 million will be appropriated to raise state employee pay. In addition to the salary increases, the budget will implement a new minimum salary for full-time state employees of $31,200, up from $24,332.

Similarly, new minimum salary for state troopers will be bumped up to $44,000. The timeline to reach the top pay step for a trooper ($60K+) will also be reduced to six years, from 8 years.

The death benefit for officers killed in the line of duty was also doubled from $50,000, to $100,000. The move will help to take care of the families of those officers, notably those families who lost loved ones in recent prison attacks that killed several correctional officers.

As previously intimated by Republican leaders, teachers will get an average six (+) percent increase in salary.

$20 million will be given to the UNC System for employee raises, and $24.1 million to the community college system. Those organizations will have discretion over how the money is ultimately allocated.

And on the school safety front a package of spending priorities were announced, including millions for school safety equipment, threat reporting apps for students, and grants for additional School Resource Officers.

Budget leaders in the House and Senate indicated the full conference report will be made available early next week, and further announcements on specific provisions will be likely as lawmakers return from the long holiday weekend.

The first votes on the budget bill are expected to be held next Thursday.

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