Here’s what’s especially noteworthy in this year’s state budget

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• The $27.9 billion spending plan, approved July 11, provides adjustments to the two-year budget Gov. Roy Cooper signed back in November.

• The budget vote: it passed in the Senate, 36-8, and in the House, 82-25.

• Under a section called “Alternate Grants,” a handful of N.C. counties and municipalities received disbursement for designated projects. Siler City’s on that list, in line for $2 million, which the town will use for water and wastewater projects.

• As previously reported by the News + Record, the budget finalizes funding that will directly benefit Chatham’s two megasites. It includes $1.2 billion related to the arrival of VinFast at Moncure’s Triangle Innovation Point: $400 million in incentives from Chatham County, a $450 million appropriation for site improvements, a $316 JDIG (Job Development Investment Grant) for VinFast, spread out over 32 years, plus $38 million worth of community college training for the electric vehicle manufacturer and a $50 million Golden Leaf Foundation Grant. The budget also includes $112.5 million in economic development funding mostly evenly-split between the Chatham Advanced Manufacturing site in Siler City and the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite, the location of a battery plant being built by Toyota.

• The budget was written primarily by the Republican-led majority legislature.

• A large portion — $16.5 billion of the $27.9 billion total budget — will go toward funding education on the state and local level.

• Pay raises: teachers will get an average raise of 4.2% this year; state employees will get a 3.5% raise. Retired state employees and retired teachers will get a 4% cost-of-living bonus this year.

• $1 billion from the budget will go into a new fund called the “State Inflationary Reserve,” to be used for unanticipated higher costs for state-funded projects.

• Medicaid Expansion – something Gov. Roy Cooper has sought for N.C. for years — wasn’t included in the budget, but it now seems to have wide bipartisan support and is likely to be more formally considered by the legislature at a later date.

• With the passage of the budget, the bulk of the General Assembly’s work is done for the year. Both houses will be in session for one day on Tuesday, July 26, and one day each month until the end of the year. All 170 members of the N.C. House and N.C. Senate are up for election in November.

- Bill Horner III

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