Gov. Cooper on Friday vetoed what he called “paltry” pay raises for public school educators that were passed by state lawmakers with almost no Democratic votes in the state legislature. Teachers stood with Gov. Cooper during his veto announcement and teachers across the state are thanking Cooper for standing up for public education and against a Republic plan for yet another corporate tax cut.
- Gov. Cooper’s original budget proposal offered a 9.1% pay raise for teachers over two years. He then offered an 8.5% pay raise over two years in his compromise budget. Republicans refused to compromise all spring, summer, and fall and have passed an insulting 3.9% teacher pay raise over two years.
- Republican pay raises for support staff like bus drivers, teaching assistants, custodians, and cafeteria workers is even more insulting. GOP lawmakers would give these workers only 1% per year. Most don’t even make $15/hour like other state employees.
- Public school retirees would get only a ½ of 1% per year COLA under the latest GOP budget.
- Meantime, GOP lawmakers passed their 6th corporate tax cut which would cost an added $1BILLION over five years. The GOP tax cut included even tax breaks for jet fuel, NASCAR, and a Big Tobacco company.
- Republicans are admitting they are willing to pay teachers more. Even before Cooper vetoed the 3.9% teacher pay raise, Republicans sent out a press release acknowledging they are willing to give teachers a 4.9% pay raise over two years and a $1000 bonus.
- In his veto announcement with NC teachers, Cooper stressed yet again he is willing to negotiate educator pay raises separate and independent of the larger state budget and independent of Medicaid expansion.
- That did not stop Republicans from attacking the governor with inaccurate claims that Cooper is forcing a Medicaid expansion ultimatum. Cooper has clearly said he’s willing to negotiate educator pay independent of Medicaid expansion.
- Teachers across North Carolina are speaking up to thank Gov. Cooper for standing up for them and vetoing an insulting pay raise which many call a “slap in the face.”
- Republicans who have rigged their seats into safely gerrymandered districts are attacking Cooper and predicting educators will get no pay raise. But Republicans who aspire to run for statewide office are conspicuously silent so far.
- Crickets thus far? Lt. Gov. Dan Forest who is running for governor in 2020 and Supt. of Public Instruction Mark Johnson (who is running for something) have said nothing about Gov. Cooper’s educator pay raise veto. It remains an open question as to whether or not Forest and Johnson support the goal of raising NC teacher pay to the national average, or if Forest and Johnson back a GOP state budget that would give teachers only a 2% pay raise and cut corporate taxes yet again at a cost of $1 BILLION in state revenue over five years.
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