From an editorial Wednesday in the Fayetteville Observer:
Economic recovery in North Carolina, like in the rest of the country, is coming slowly. But it is coming along, and some of it is showing up in a revised, $22.34 billion state budget that has some value added for many of us.
The House and Senate negotiated their way to a budget on Monday, and by the end of this week, the spending plan should arrive on Gov. Pat McCrory’s desk. Since the new fiscal year begins on Friday, that’s good on-time performance for a General Assembly that has often completed budgets a month or more late in recent years.
Public school educators are among the bigger beneficiaries of the new budget. Average teacher salaries will rise about 4.7 percent, which will put average annual teacher pay above $50,000. If state spending stays on the schedule that budget writers intend, teachers will average better than $54,000 in three years. Those are good gains that will boost teachers well above the bottom of the national barrel, where they had fallen in the past few years.
There are plenty of other institutions and issues that need better funding, of course, but this is likely as good as we could expect from a deeply conservative legislature.