The North Carolina Senate last week released its concept for a state budget. To no one’s surprise, the 300-page document differed significantly from the plan submitted in March by Gov. Roy Cooper. Most significantly, the Senate plan has significant tax cuts. Personal income taxes would drop from 5.499 percent to 5.35. The standard deduction for a married couple filing jointly would go from $17,500 to $20,000. The corporate rate for taxes would drop from 3 percent to 2.75 percent in 2018 and down to 2.5 in 2018. The governor’s plan would not change the current tax rate. As expected, the Senate budget was adopted along party lines. The majorities of Republicans in the House and Senate hold veto-proof numbers.
The starting salary for a starting teacher remains at $35,000. Cooper wanted to raise it to $36,750. Teachers with more than 25 years of experience would get no increases, but teachers with nine to 14 years of experience would get a 4.8 percent hike. Two percent increases for teachers with two to
nine years and from 20 to 24 years of experience. State employees generally would get a 1.5 percent hike or a $750 bonus—whichever is greater.