Do not buy into the NC-GOP’s false choice of an “either / or” state budget
North Carolina has the revenue and resources for a state budget that fully funds public education, expands Medicaid, and invests in critical local projects across the state.
Republicans claim the state budget can either include local projects earmarked for legislative districts across the state, or the state budget can expand Medicaid. This is a ridiculous false choice. Why?
- Medicaid expansion is basically revenue neutral on the state’s existing tax base. 90% of the cost of MedEx will be paid by the federal government. The state’s 10% obligation would come from a new tax on hospitals which will benefit from 634,000 new paying customers whose medical bills would be paid for thru Medicaid. These patients would not turn up at hospital ERs with no way to pay.
- In fact, Gov. Cooper’s proves the state budget can include BOTH Medicaid expansion AND capital projects outlined in the GOP budget proposal. Because Gov. Cooper’s budget does just that. The Governor’s revised budget includes:
- Funding for East Carolina University’s Brody Medical School
- Funding UNC-Pembroke’s College of Health Sciences
- Funding ALL capital projects outlined in GOP budget
- Republicans have threatened to pull back all local projects if they are forced to negotiate with Democrats because they don’t have the votes to override the governor’s budget veto. They are basically holding needed investments across the state hostage over their refusal to accept Medicaid expansion, which would cover 634,000 people, create 37,000 jobs, and is popular with the general public.
- Major differences between the GOP budget and Gov. Cooper’s revised budget? Investments in public education and ending continued tax cuts for corporations.
- The GOP budget would continue to cut taxes for corporations by $800M over the next 5 years. This GOP budget would fund public school classroom supplies 40% below the inflation / enrollment adjusted amount from a decade ago. If parents feel like they are paying more and more of their own money for basic classroom supplies, that’s probably because they are.
- Gov. Cooper’s budget would raise average teacher pay by 8.5% over two years. The GOP budget would raise teacher pay by only 3.8%.
The GOP budget does not address any of the requests made by 10,000 educators who descended Raleigh on May 1st. Gov. Cooper’s budget returns pay raises for teachers with master’s degrees and expands Medicaid.
- The GOP budget proposal short-changes our public schools once again. The numbers are clear when you adjust for inflation and enrollment.
- Enrollment in NC’s public schools is up 5.4% over the last decade.
- State spending is 2.9% below pre-recession levels (inflation / enrollment adjusted) of 2008-09 before the “Great Recession”.
- In this budget, the state would fund nearly 800 fewer teachers than in 08-09.
- State would fund 7,730 fewer teaching assistants than in 08-09.
- State would spend 40% less on textbooks and classroom supplies (inflation / enrollment adjusted).
- South Carolina already spends 21% more per student than North Carolina.
Because Republicans have failed to override the governor’s budget veto, NC is closer now to Medicaid expansion than the state has ever been since the MedEx debate began NINE years ago in 2011 when the GOP took control of the legislature.
- Last week, the NC House finally allowed a committee vote on a GOP version of Medicaid expansion. The vote was overwhelming and bi-partisan - 25-6. It shows the GOP leaders of the state Senate are out of touch with public opinion and political reality when they refuse MedEx.
- The MedEx vote would not have happened if Republicans had been able to quickly convince 7 House Democrats to override the governor’s budget veto.
- Republican promises to hold a special session on healthcare issues after the budget passes are laughable. GOP lawmakers are entertaining conversations on MedEx only because they cannot pass a budget without MedEx. If they pass a budget, they will end the MedEx conversation.
- Democrats who ran on better funding for public schools and improving access to healthcare are betraying their campaign promises if they vote for a budget that continues to cut corporate taxes, underfunds our classrooms, and does not include Medicaid expansion.
- Why does Medicaid expansion make so much sense to North Carolina?
- Medicaid expansion would cover an estimated 634,000 NC residents with healthcare help alleviate the problem of the uninsured seeking treatment at hospital ERs with no way to pay.
- MedEx will cover more people and bring down healthcare costs for everyone.
- MedEx would create an estimated 37,000 jobs in North Carolina
- MedEx would generate $2.9 BILLION in economic activity in North Carolina.
- MedEx will help keep rural hospitals financially sound. Half a dozen rural hospitals across NC have closed since Republicans in the state legislature have refused to expand Medicaid.