Is there help on the way for North Carolinians?
These are certainly precedent times we are living in. From the war between Ukraine and Russia, Food and Gas prices continue to rise, and we are still dealing with a Pandemic. Although the Federal Government has not approved a monthly stimulus check, some states had started sending the fourth check to households to help struggling families with the effects caused by inflation. Gas prices in North Carolina are on the rise. AAA reported North Carolina's average gas price is $4.246 compared to the National gas price average of $4.483.
Last week Governor Cooper announced what he wanted to do with the $6.2 Billion North Carolina has available. He addresses a host of needs like building construction, education inequities, affordable housing, and worker retention. Governor Cooper unveiled his recommended adjustments to the second year of the two-year budget lawmakers approved and signed last fall. They also include higher pay for state employees and teachers beyond what the enacted budget already directs.
Governor Cooper states, “Despite a difficult few years, North Carolina families and communities are marching ahead with the resilience that has always defined us”. The budget that I’m presenting today will build on our success and strengthen those areas that need reinforcement.” The North Carolina General Assembly has not discussed anything about offering relief to North Carolinians.
North Carolinians have seen a spike in gas prices, and buying groceries is becoming more and more expensive. State Employees will receive a 2.5% increase set to begin in July would grow in Cooper’s plan to 5%, while state law enforcement and health care workers would get a 7.5% increase. Teacher pay schedules would be adjusted to ensure instructors see a combined average 7.5% raise this year and next, instead of the current 5%. One-time bonuses of $1,500 to $3,000 also would be offered for workers and teachers.
The million-dollar question is will Governor Cooper include a state stimulus check in his plan? The state of North Carolina is in a good financial condition. Governor Cooper stated that the state rainy day fund is already on track to reach $4.25 billion once the new fiscal year begins July 1 and that income tax cuts are already contained in the current budget. Offering a state stimulus check will help North Carolina residents since the gas prices are expected to rise due to the upcoming summer holidays.