State Government
House Passes Protections Against Eminent Domain PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Thursday, 25 March 2021 11:35
A supermajority of the North Carolina House of Representatives approved a proposed constitutional amendment on Thursday that would strengthen private property rights against eminent domain land takings if approved by voters in 2022. 
 
House Bill 271 Eminent Domain is sponsored by Rep. Dennis Riddell (R-Alamance), Rep. Dean Arp (R-Union), Rep. Steve Tyson (R-Craven), and Rep. Mark Brody (R-Union). 
 
The bill proposes the North Carolina Constitution be amended to prohibit condemnation of private property except for a "public use" and to require the payment of just compensation for the property taken in an amount to be determined by jury trial, if requested, by any party. Current law allows condemnation for "public use or benefit." 
 
The bill also makes statutory changes to detail the purpose for which property may be taken by eminent domain as "public use," and clarifies the types of construction projects for which private property may be acquired by eminent domain by public and private condemnors. It would permit condemnors to acquire property by eminent domain for the connection of utility customers. 
 
Bill sponsor Rep. Dennis Riddell (R-Alamance) noted the state House repeatedly approved similar legislation last decade because it represents vital rights for the people of North Carolina. 
 
“This legislation is necessary to prevent overreach of state government into property takings that are not for a public use, but rather benefit private development," Rep. Riddell said Thursday. 
 
"We are currently the only state in the nation that does not have just compensation guarantees in our state constitution for government takings. That is a big concern for the people." 
 
"Life, liberty, and property rights are fundamental values for North Carolinians and all Americans. Property rights and assets are the product of our labor and investments as Americans, and this proposal would elevate protection for every North Carolinian to higher levels where we believe they should be." 
 
Bill sponsor Rep. Dean Arp (R-Union) also spoke in favor of the legislation in House debate Thursday. 
 
"There is no liberty when the government can take your property, or your freedom, without just cause and due process of the highest standards," Rep. Arp said. 
 
"We all understand there are some instances where the government may properly, with just compensation, declare eminent domain and take private property. But we do not want that great power of the government to be used to take your property and give it to someone else. That's why this constitutional amendment is needed for North Carolina." 
 
Senate Budget Leader Expresses Concern Over Cooper Budget; Pledges To Work With Governor PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 24 March 2021 17:03

Sen. Brent Jackson (R-Sampson), one of the Senate's budget writers, released the following statement on Gov. Roy Cooper's budget proposal:

 "We have concerns about the very high spending growth and billions in borrowing in Gov. Cooper's proposed budget. We don’t want to return to an era of rollercoaster-style budgets with huge spikes in the boom years followed by huge cuts in the lean years.

"Thanks to a decade of predictable, responsible budgeting, North Carolina weathered the COVID-19 pandemic and recession without cutting state services or freezing teacher pay.

"Gov. Cooper also wants to eliminate the Opportunity Scholarship program. His plan would harm working parents who desperately want their children to have an education that best prepares them for success. The program is enormously popular, especially among lower-income and non-white communities. For all the left's talk about 'equity,' taking money away from low-income children so a private education is only available to the elite seems hypocritical.

"We look forward to working together to achieve an enacted budget."

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 March 2021 17:05
 
Speaker Moore Hopes To Reach Budget Agreement With Governor Cooper PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 24 March 2021 16:55
State House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) responded to the release of Governor Roy Cooper's budget proposal. 
 
Speaker Moore released a statement: 
 
"While there are a number of shared priorities funded in the Governor’s budget proposal, North Carolina lawmakers will remain vigilant in our responsible financial management of the state and avoid irresponsible decisions that have harmed taxpayers in the past," Speaker Moore said Wednesday.  
 
"The General Assembly will maintain budget strategies that made our state attractive to so many newcomers with a powerful economy and state government that serves citizens effectively." 
 
"I look forward to reaching consensus on a state budget that works for all North Carolinians to avoid further vetoes by the Governor of valuable funds that taxpayers earned and communities deserve." 
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 March 2021 16:58
 
Cooper Proposes $27 Billion Budget PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 24 March 2021 16:46
Governor Roy Cooper released a recommended budget for FY 2021-2023 that will strengthen North Carolina to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and ignite recovery for all North Carolinians. The Governor’s plan recommends significant investments in schools and increased pay for teachers, action to strengthen health care access, and expanded economic opportunities and infrastructure investments.
 
“With the right priorities, we will not only beat this pandemic, but build lasting success for North Carolina,” said Governor Cooper. “The most important recommendations today will invest in North Carolina’s people so they can learn, get healthier, and get the right kind of training for great jobs.”
 
The Governor’s budget is a blueprint to help North Carolina build a stronger, more resilient future by investing $27.4 billion in 2021-2022 and $28.5 billion in 2022-2023 in areas including education, economic development, and health care. These vital investments are made without raising taxes.
 
Federal funds from the American Rescue Plan can be used on important state priorities including broadband expansion, water and sewer infrastructure, assistance for businesses recovering from the pandemic, and education and workforce training.
 
The Governor will soon make recommendations on how these federal funds complement today’s budget proposal to respond to immediate needs, promote a shared recovery, and transform North Carolina’s future.
 
“Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, some of our most pressing needs to lift communities in rural and other areas can be covered by federal funds,” said Governor Cooper.
 
Investing in our Schools and Teachers
 
The pandemic has underscored the vital work educators do to help children learn and thrive, and this budget recommends pay increases to reflect their essential roles in building our state. Further, this budget makes long overdue investments to demonstrate the State’s commitment to upholding its constitutional duty to provide every student with access to a sound, basic education.
 
The Governor’s budget would provide K-12 teacher raises of 10% on average over the biennium and ensure that all non-certified school personnel receive a minimum of $15 an hour, on par with other state employees. The budget also invests more than $78 million in early education and child development so that more children can attend Pre-K, receive high-quality care, and access early intervention services.
 
This budget also invests in efforts to improve recruitment, preparation, support, and retention of diverse educators. Additionally, the plan provides $80 million to help school districts hire more nurses, counselors, psychologists, and social workers to support student physical and mental health.
 
“This budget also works to make good on our state’s Constitutional duty to make sure every child has access to a sound basic education,” said Governor Cooper. “We know how to do that: Attract and keep good teachers with competitive pay and recruit young people to make teaching a career. Make sure students and adults are ready for careers in high demand fields of employment. Provide the right resources for students with the greatest needs.”
 
Read more about the Governor’s plan for stronger schools HERE.
 
Supporting State Employees
 
Governor Cooper’s budget proposal supports hardworking state employees by improving pay, providing bonuses, strengthening benefits, and providing the most substantial cost-of-living adjustment for state government retirees in more than a decade. 
 
Read more about the Governor’s investment in teachers and state employees HERE.
 
Rebuilding Critical Infrastructure
 
This budget recommends cash capital investments totaling over $1.1 billion, including $675 million for UNC System projects, $360 for state agency projects, and $100 million toward energy efficiency improvements.
 
North Carolina’s strong balance sheet presents a generational opportunity to address critical long-term infrastructure needs. The Governor’s budget takes advantage of the state’s low debt and historically low interest rates and recommends placing a $4.7 billion General Obligation Bond on the November 2021 ballot to ask voters to address key infrastructure needs across North Carolina, including:
 
$2.5 billion for public schools to address the over $8 billion in documented needs
$783 million for the UNC System, including $295 million for health and safety projects
$500 million for the Community College System
$430 million for Health and Safety projects across State Government
$460 million for Parks, Zoos, Museums, and Historic Sites
Ensuring North Carolina’s Economic Recovery
 
The pandemic has left many people and local governments struggling financially, and this budget bolsters economic development and strengthens businesses. The Governor’s plan released today appropriates available state funds, and a future budget will recommend the state’s share of funds from the federal American Rescue Plan Act, which will provide North Carolina tens of billions in aid.
 
The Governor recommends $45.4 million in economic investments, including support for One NC Small Business Fund and Carolina Small Business Fund. The Governor’s proposed budget invests to help small businesses thrive and provides funding to prepare rural and economically distressed communities for an innovation-based economy. It also proposes funding to address the disproportionate economic impact of COVID-19 on communities of color through increased support for minority-owned businesses.
 
This budget proposes additional funding to market the state as a business destination as well as to identify new markets for North Carolina products.
 
Read more about the Governor’s plan for a more prosperous economy HERE.
 
Increasing Access to Quality Healthcare
 
Gov. Cooper’s budget provides access to health care for more than 600,000 working North Carolinians, keeps rural hospitals open and strong, reduces the number of uninsured veterans, helps fight the opioid epidemic, and injects over $5 billion in direct investment into the state by expanding Medicaid. No taxes would be increased to achieve this major expansion of health care access, and the American Rescue Plan provides an additional $1.7 billion in federal funds to support Medicaid expansion without the state covering any cost share for up to six years.
 
“We must get health care to more working people and the best way to do that is to expand Medicaid,” said Governor Cooper. “I am ready to work with legislative leadership and members of both political parties here in North Carolina to find a way forward.”
 
Investments for a Clean, Healthy North Carolina
 
The Governor’s budget builds on the state’s progress toward ensuring cleaner energy, air and water and attracting clean energy jobs. It also provides funding to help North Carolina become stronger and more resilient in the face of increasingly frequent natural disasters.
 
The budget invests over $100 million in expanding access to clean energy technologies, investing in clean energy economic development and building the clean energy workforce pipeline to catalyze North Carolina’s economy. The budget invests $10 million for clean energy economic development and $4.5 million in clean energy grants for homegrown start-ups and small businesses.
 
Clean, safe water and air are essential for the health and well-being of North Carolinians. Governor Cooper recommends over $300 million in spending on environmental stewardship, increasing access to parks, and enhancing the state’s resiliency to future floods. The budget also recommends nearly $8 million for emerging compounds mitigation.
 
Read more about the Governor’s plan to fight climate change and increase economic development in clean energy HERE.
 
A Safer, More Equitable North Carolina
 
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to shine a light on long-standing inequities. The Governor’s budget proposal advances equity in our healthcare, economic, criminal justice and education systems through strategic investments, including funds to:
 
Recruit and retain a diverse educator workforce;
Ensure access to a sound, basic education for all students;
Emphasize equity in government decision making;
Support minority-owned businesses; and
Prioritize fairness in the criminal justice system
    
 
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