12 Reasons Why this Budget is Bad for North Carolina
1. No raises for most teachers
Veteran educators like Laura are outraged about this budget that does nothing to improve pay for our experienced educators. Instead, they'll get only a one-time, $750 bonus. That won't do anything to stop the exodus of qualified and experienced educators from North Carolina classrooms.
2. Holding TAs hostage
For months politicians in Raleigh held 8,500 hard-working TAs hostage, threatening the largest layoff in state history if they didn't get their way. This created unnecessary stress and anxiety for educators as school started. When they finally decided to fund TA positions this year, politicians wanted praise. That's like the arsonist wanting credit for putting out the fire he started. It's just not right.
And, while TAs might not get cut this year, we still have 7,000 fewer TAs than we did in 2008, thanks to cuts from politicians in Raleigh.
3. Restricting school flexibility
While politicians claim their budget fully funds TA positions, it comes with a massive caveat. They're now restricting schools from using TA funds for hiring teachers, or anything else. Given that our schools have been starved of resources for years, some districts have made the difficult decision to use TA money in other critical areas. Now they won't be able to that, and it's unclear where the funding for those teachers will come from.
4. Textbook investment falls short
While this budget does invest more in textbooks than last year's budget, it still is less than half of what we invested in 2008, despite the large growth in enrollment. The bottom line is that with funding still woefully inadequate, expect to see more stories of students not having textbooks for homework.
5. More cuts for the UNC system
Despite being an economic engine for the entire state, politicians continued the recent trend of cutting higher education. The UNC system budget is cut by $18 million in this budget, at exactly the moment we need to be investing more in higher education.
6. Community college tuition hikes
While many states are moving toward tuition-free community college, this budget once again raises tuition fees. Since 2008, community college tuition is up nearly 80%. We need to make education more affordable for those who need it, this budget fails to do that.
7. Raising taxes on working families
Despite the spin from politicians around tax season, most North Carolinians say they paid more in state taxes than they did last year. That's because the General Assembly got rid of key deductions and expanded the sales tax to new services. This year they're doubling down on regressive tax hikes, further expanding the sales tax base in a way that will cost North Carolina's families.
8. More tax giveaways to big corporations
Not only are politicians raising taxes on working families and refusing to support our educators, they're also giving massive handouts to the biggest corporations in the state. This will continue to starve our state, and therefore our classrooms, of critical resources they need for students to thrive.
9. Defunding women's health care
Politicians in Raleigh are also doubling down on the war on women, including a provision in the budget that seeks to defund Planned Parenthood and any other women's health organization that performs abortions. When are they going to understand that the government has no place in a decision between a woman and her doctor.
10. Killing the solar industry
Despite generating $4.7 billion in economic activity for the state, politicians are eliminating North Carolinian's renewable energy tax credit, which helped make NC a hub for innovation in clean energy. It's likely that because of this budget, an blossoming industry will be destroyed.
11. Killing light-rail
Buried in the budget is a provision that will doom any hope for a new light-rail project in North Carolina. Politicians are limiting what the state of NC will invest for a light-rail project to $500,000, not nearly enough to build a functioning system that will improve transit. Given North Carolina's growth, particularly in the Triangle, we need to be innovating and developing new transit options. This budget does the opposite.
12. Subsidizing fracking
As the dropping price of oil continues to make high-risk, low-reward fracking operations obsolete, North Carolina politicians are ready to hand over your tax dollars to big oil companies for fracking. This represents the worst kind of cronyism and highlights just how out of touch politicians in Raleigh are.