Gov. Roy Cooper released his 2017-19 budget proposal on Wednesday. The budget would increase state government spending by $1.1 billion next year, according to ABC 11. The Raleigh News & Observer reports the budget includes a heavy investment in education with 10 percent raises for public school teachers over two years. Cooper’s budget would also expand Medicaid coverage by more than 600,000 people and allow law enforcement officers to retire five years earlier. WRAL outlined some of the other budget highlights.
The lengthy process for approving the budget is underway, and the Republican-controlled legislature will review and pass appropriations bills.
— Jonah Kaplan (@KaplanABC11) March 1, 2017
Republican leaders have signaled Cooper will face an uphill battle. A WRAL article quotes Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger calling the budget a “reckless $1 billion spending spree” that would return the state “to the days of high taxes and multi-billion dollar deficits.” WRAL also notes North Carolina is expected to finish the 2016-17 fiscal year with a $522 million surplus, but Cooper’s budget increases state spending by more than twice that amount. In a statement, Cooper said he is prepared to work with lawmakers and that his goals are “universal and bipartisan.”