We notice if there are too few nurses, counselors, psychologists and social workers in public schools ($80 million to increase the number); if there are inequities in the quality of public libraries ($1 million to standardize service); and if highway medians are overgrown or strewn with trash ($1 million for litter cleanup).
Other necessities are less obvious: removing asbestos from NC A&T ($150,000); rack shelving at the ABC Warehouse ($313,000); floodplain buyouts and stream restoration ($19 million).
The 254-page budget isn’t light reading, but it does provide essential insight into the enormous responsibilities of state government. And it sets Cooper administration’s moral and ethical priorities to support and nurture residents and businesses in North Carolina.
Here are some of the budget highlights:
$27.3 billion — total recommended budget 2021-22
$28.6 billion — total recommended budget 2022-23
$5.5 billion — total funding North Carolina is expected to receive from the federal American Rescue Plan
$4.7 billion — General Obligation Bond proposed for the November ballot to address infrastructure needs across the state
$2.5 billion — amount from the bond that would go toward public school construction
$460 million — amount from bond that would expand and upgrade state parks and cultural centers
$22 million — to increase wages for non-certified public school employees to at least $15 an hour
$3.9 million — to provide free school meals for up to 97,500 students
$4 million — to train community college students in the fields of clean energy, sustainability and energy efficiency
$60 million — to raise wages for direct care and early childhood workers
$1.7 billion — from federal American Rescue Plan appropriations to help expand Medicaid (no state funds would be necessary for up to six years)
$800,000 — to expand the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities to reduce inequities in health care
$10 million — amount over the biennium for sexual assault evidence testing
$25.5 million — over the biennium to increase rates for attorneys who represent persons declared indigent by the courts
$200,000 — to add two more Agricultural Safety & Health Compliance Officers to inspect migrant housing
$450,000 — to cover increased operating costs resulting from the transfer of the Division of Motor Vehicles headquarters from Raleigh to Rocky Mount