Updated: May 24
In the first week of the new legislative session, Republican leaders of the NC General Assembly met privately to discuss a budget deal. Though the NCGA is on a two-year budget cycle, with last year’s approved budget plan covering this year and next, the legislative body usually makes adjustments to the budget during off years. Given this year’s $6.2 billion budget surplus, Governor Cooper proposed earlier this month to increase spending in the budget to $29.3 billion, including an additional 2.5% raise for teachers and state employees. Republican lawmakers are reluctant to increase spending as much as Gov. Cooper has requested and have suggested cutting taxes further given the surplus, but it is likely that some spending increases will be passed.
A total of 1.4 million North Carolinians cast votes in last Tuesday’s primary elections, with a record number choosing to vote early. Elections ran smoothly across the state, with “no reports of significant errors or mishaps.” Despite the higher-than-average turnout, this number of primary voters still represents only about 20% of the total eligible voting population.