RALEIGH – State lawmakers wrapped up work on a $1.1 billion relief bill focused on helping families deal with education closure chaos, bolstering unemployment benefits, and expanding school choice programs.
The legislation directs more than $900 million of CARES Act funds left over from the federal coronavirus relief package.
About half of that will go to around 2 million North Carolina families with children in the form of a $335 payment, in an effort to help parents deal with unanticipated education costs as a result of Governor Roy Cooper’s decision to prohibit schools from reopening fully.
The bill also bumps up unemployment benefits by $50 a week, as well over 1 million North Carolinians have filed jobless claims since Cooper’s Pandemic Panic lockdown was initiated in March.
Further, the bill includes money for expanding rural broadband services in a continuation of a years long Big Government rural broadband push by both parties. (Joe Taxpayer of North Carolina will help subsidize internet connections for those that don’t have them.)
Par for the course: Democrats in the General Assembly are crowing about how callous and cold-hearted Republicans are because they did not agree to a wish list of progressive demands, such as Medicaid expansion and even more teacher bonuses. In their floor speeches, spinning a narrative for the media to regurgitate about the mean-spirited Republicans, Democrats failed to mention how many teacher raises and bonuses they’ve voted against and upheld vetoes of in recent history.
Funny how that works.
Even so, nearly all the Democrats in the N.C. House voted for the bill, after it received similarly bipartisan support in the N.C. Senate. No word on whether or not Governor Cooper will sign the bill. While it seems like an obvious thing to implement, we wouldn’t make the mistake of discounting Cooper’s level of petty partisanship.
The legislature adjourned the session after the final vote sending the bill to the governor’s desk. It will arrive at the mansion just after a protest by business owners expressing their frustration as the governor’s arbitrary Pandemic Panic policies utterly destroy their livelihoods.