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PNS Daily Newscast - June 20, 2018 


The Trump administration pulls the U.S. out of the U.N. Human Rights Council. Also on the Wednesday rundown: State AGs push back on the Trump border policy; and we look at the link between zinc and fertility.

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NC Teacher Raises, More School Funding: Who Pays?

Gov. Roy Coopers proposal includes a $24.5 billion plan for the fiscal year starting July 1. It covers school funding, job training, water-quality improvements and additional relief for communities affected by Hurricane Matthew. (Twenty20)
Gov. Roy Coopers proposal includes a $24.5 billion plan for the fiscal year starting July 1. It covers school funding, job training, water-quality improvements and additional relief for communities affected by Hurricane Matthew. (Twenty20)
May 23, 2018

RALEIGH, N.C. - How will the state pay for Gov. Roy Cooper's proposal to increase teacher pay by 8 percent and funding for school safety and mental-health services? That's the question this week after the governor released his proposed budget amendments.

Cooper's announcement came after a record number of teachers marched for better pay in Raleigh.

The state could amend some of the tax cuts coming up in January. Alexandra Sirota, director of the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center, said the current state budget ignores some real needs of schools and communities.

"That's happening at a time when we know classrooms need more money to ensure that every child has achieved their educational milestones," she said. "We know that communities are struggling to ensure everyone has affordable housing, and can connect to jobs in their communities through good skills-training opportunities."

The governor's office said that if corporations would accept a slightly smaller state tax-rate decrease in January, it would generate $100 million. If the upcoming tax rates aren't amended, the cuts scheduled for 2019 will reduce state revenue by another $900 million. Any changes to the tax cuts would need General Assembly approval in the short session which convened last week.

Michael Leachman, director of state fiscal research with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. said North Carolina isn't alone in its efforts to cut taxes for companies and their owners in recent years, under the theory that benefits would "trickle down" to boost the economy.

"The states that cut taxes the most in recent years, none of them have seen their economies boom as promised," he said. "In fact, the top five tax-cutting states, including North Carolina, have actually lagged behind the United States as a whole, in terms of economic growth."

Sirota said North Carolina's current, regressive tax model places a disproportionate burden on low- and middle-income families.

"Our tax code right now asks more as a share of income from middle- and low-income taxpayers than it does from wealthy taxpayers," she said, "and that has meant that low- and middle-income taxpayers are paying more as a share of their incomes."

While state tax rates were reduced across the board, sales taxes in some cases have increased, which also impacts people who spend a larger portion of their income on basic needs.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC