WAKE DEMS WEEKLY UPDATE: Calm before the storm

WAKE DEMS WEEKLY UPDATE, Vol. 1, No. 4

May 6, 2017

CROSSOVER

Read the official Non-Revenue and Non-Appropriations Bills Crossover List – 2017, with all the bills that made the crossover deadline last week and are still eligible for passage.

BUSY WEEK FOR GOVERNOR ROY COOPER

After the long nights of crossover week, this past week was a quiet one at the General Assembly, as Senate leadership prepares its budget. With one exception, neither chamber held votes on the floor (see the final item in this list), and only one committee meeting was held. But the governor had a lot to do.

PUBLIC EDUCATION

As you might remember, House Bill 13 -- Class Size Requirement Changes (now Session Law 2017-9) only promises a one-year solution to the class size/specials predicament. Despite public pronouncements by Senate leadership, no appropriation for Fiscal Year 2018-19 was added to the bill. Sen. Jay Chaudhuri (D-Wake) put forth an amendment to provide these funds, but it was voted down.

According to NC Policy Watch, “To fully fund class-size requirements and enhancement teachers, the General Assembly will need to increase classroom teacher funding by approximately $293 million in FY 18-19.”

RUMOR OF STATE BUDGET

The Senate is expected to introduce and pass its budget next week. That will be sent to the House, which will produce its own version. After that, a Conference Committee will be appointed from both chambers to work out the differences.

Gov. Cooper already released his own budget proposal in March. Democrats will be looking for many of the governor’s priorities in the Republicans’ budget, including:

  • teacher pay raises which would bring us to tops in the Southeast in three years and to the national average in five
  • higher pay for school administrators and staff, and the largest raise for non-school state employees in a decade
  • a $150 supplies stipend for teachers
  • the restoration of the Child Care Tax Credit and the first new investment in early childhood education since 2008, including over $1.3 million for Wake County
  • free community college for qualifying students, including an estimated 5,104 in Wake
  • an expansion of Medicaid to cover an additional 624,000 North Carolinians, which would boost our economy by $4 billion annually
  • the return of the film tax incentive