April 25th marked the beginning of the short session in the North Carolina Senate, and there is no shortage of work to be done.
Over the past five years, Senate Republicans have focused on policies to strengthen our public education system, attract and retain businesses and jobs, and improve our state’s economy. This session, we look forward to building on the progress we’ve made.
Our principal order of business will be ensuring we have a balanced budget that funds North Carolina’s key priorities while continuing to make state government smarter and more efficient. The Senate is committed to protecting taxpayers and passing a fiscally responsible budget that limits spending increases to the range of 2 percent.
In addition to our work on the state budget, we’ll also focus on these key areas:
• Exploring additional ways to reduce the tax burden on our hardworking middle class. Thanks to the changes Senate Republicans have made to the state tax code in the past few years, the vast majority of North Carolinians are keeping more of their own tax dollars. This session the Senate will look at proposals to increase the amount of tax-free income for families to ensure they are keeping even more of their hard-earned money.
• Passing a substantial pay raise for our public school teachers. Senate Republicans have taken many steps to attract, retain and reward North Carolina’s public school teachers, including providing teachers an average 7 percent raise in 2014. Governor Pat McCrory has set the right target of moving toward raising average teacher pay to $50,000, and it’s a goal we need to start working toward.
• Renewing our efforts to reduce regulatory burdens on small businesses. Senate Republicans will continue our strong record of regulatory reform and eliminating or simplifying job-killing rules and regulations.
• Taking further action to prevent ‘sanctuary cities’ by helping ensure localities enforce federal laws against illegal immigration and creating harsh penalties for those who choose not to do so.