Mon July 22, 2013
N.C. House, Senate Leaders Reach Budget Agreement
North Carolina legislative leaders plan to get rid of tenure for teachers, overhaul the state’s Medicaid program, and compensate victims of the state’s defunct eugenics program. Those are a few details from the budget agreement that House and Senate leaders announced Sunday night.
The state was supposed to have a new budget at the start of the month, but state leaders put it off while they worked out a tax overhaul. After finishing that up last week, they finalized a spending plan over the weekend for the next two years.
It budgets $20.6 billion this fiscal year and $21 billion the next.
In education, it eliminates teacher tenure in favor of a pay-for-performance system that’s in the works. Teachers won’t get a state pay raise this year. But the ones who do well on their evaluations next year could get more money.
Governor Pat McCrory originally wanted teachers and all state employees to get a raise. Instead, state employees will get five extra paid days off.
Also, the state’s pre-kindergarten program will take in about 2,500 more kids who are at risk of already being behind when they start school.
For Medicaid, the budget agreement provides an extra $1.5 billion to fund cost overruns, and it tells the McCrory administration to finish developing its plan to overhaul the program. McCrory has said he wants to switch to a model where a few huge organizations are on the hook for providing Medicaid services.
In addition, the budget includes $10 million to compensate victims of the state’s eugenics program. Before that program ended in the 1970s, it sterilized thousands of North Carolinians against their will. Mecklenburg County had the most victims.
The state also sets aside more money for its rainy day fund under the budget agreement. The House and Senate are scheduled to approve it this week, and then it goes to Governor McCrory.