The following is a press release from Rep. Jeffrey Elmore, R-Wilkes
Governor Roy Cooper and Democrats continue to hold the entire $24 billion state budget hostage to force the expansion of government-run Medicaid in North Carolina. The Governor’s “Medicaid-or-nothing” strategy is causing real life consequences for students, teachers and schools as they prepare to start a new school year.
Rep. Jeffrey Elmore (R-Wilkes), the only active public school teacher in the General Assembly and the Co-chair of the House Education Committee, urged the Governor to put politics aside and stop holding the budget hostage:
“From billions in school construction and education funding to millions in teacher raises and classroom supplies, the Governor and Democrats are putting politics over public education. Furthermore, the Governor’s budget impasse will cause teacher pay freezes similar to 2009 when Democrats held control of the General Assembly.
“Pay uncertainty and flat funding shows no respect to our hardworking school employees and stakeholders as the start of the school year is almost here. It is simply unfair to use students, teachers and schools as bargaining chips in a partisan political game.”
Lawmakers have continued to call on the Governor to have a separate debate on Medicaid expansion – and not tie it together with something as important as the state’s budget. They point to the fact that the budget passed by the General Assembly already includes a special provision that allows the Governor to call the legislature back for a special session this fall to discuss health care and Medicaid expansion.
Key Public Education Benefits and Resources Being Blocked
3.9% teacher pay raise over the biennium.
$1.43 billion over two years in increased education funding.
$91 million in school safety measures.
$4.4 billion over the next 10 years for school construction.
$3 million to provide free school lunches for low-income students.
$15 million in new funding for classroom supplies.