The budget was built around one overwhelming political goal for lawmakers seeking re-election and especially for House Speaker Thom Tillis, who will face a statewide electorate as the GOP’s nominee for U.S. Senate. That goal was to approve a pay raise for the state’s 95,000 public school teachers. With teacher pay near the lowest in the nation, Republicans dreaded going before voters without having addressed the problem.
The goal was accomplished, at least for the purposes of campaign claims. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger was hailing the budget’s inclusion of a teacher raise averaging 7 percent as “the largest teacher pay raise in state history.”
Gov. Pat McCrory, who said the budget bill reflects his priorities, said he will sign it.