Gov. Bev Perdue this morning presented her 2012-13 budget for Investing in Our Future, a plan to guide North Carolina toward expanded economic growth and opportunity for its citizens.
Budgets reflect our priorities and who we are as a state, and Gov. Perdue has focused investments in education, jobs and military families and veterans.
"This budget invests in the priorities that all North Carolinians share," Gov. Perdue said. "We must strengthen our ability to educate and prepare North Carolina's children for the future. We must make concrete investments to help companies create jobs. And we must stand up for our military families."
Investing in Our Schools
Investing in education is among the most important things state government can do. It prepares our children to compete in the 21st century global economy. It is also an economic development tool: CEOs thinking about investing or expanding in North Carolina care about education because it ensures them a pipeline of well-trained workers, and helps them attract and recruit top-quality employees who demand good schools for their children.
Gov. Perdue's budget reverses the deep and unnecessary cuts made last year and returns to our historic tradition of investing in schools. Her pri¬orities include:
Ensuring that there are more caring adults to educate our children by investing resources to save or creat¬e more than 11,000 education positions across North Carolina.
Lowering class size in grades K - 3.
Unfreezing salaries and giving teachers and prin¬cipals a pay increase for the first time in four years (an average of 1.8% for teachers and an average of approximately 1.54% for school administrators).
Transforming the way we educate by investing in innovative new education solutions, such as the mobile technology already in place in approximately 480 schools across the state that helps teachers en¬sure that more children are able to read on grade level by the end of third grade.
Recruiting, training and supporting teachers by restoring our investments in the Teaching Fel¬lows program, the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching, and the Teacher Cadet program.
Restoring funding for the Governor's Schools, NC School for the Deaf, Eastern School for the Deaf, and Governor Morehead School.
Providing a net increase of more than $53 million for the community college system.
Increasing our investment in North Carolina's public universities by more than $145 million, including funds to help ensure that working families across North Carolina can afford to send their children to college, and funds to accelerate the development and launch of commercial products derived from university research.
Investing in Jobs
North Carolina is consistently ranked as one of the most business-friendly states in America, with a well-trained and highly-motivated workforce that makes our state an ideal place for businesses to invest and expand. Gov. Perdue, though, is not content to rest on our great busi¬ness climate alone. Her budget initiatives are designed to stimulate economic growth and help companies create jobs for North Carolinians:
Put People Back to Work
A credit to encourage small businesses to hire post-911 veterans or unemployed North Carolinians now and retain them for at least a year.
Support small businesses
The Governor's budget includes:
A credit for angel investments in certain small businesses.
A small Business Startup Tax Credit.
A Research and Development Innovation Tax Credit
Support Manufacturing and Other Key Industries
To aid job creation in industries, such as manufacturing, the budget will:
Expand Biz Boost for North Carolina Manu¬facturers--a program that targets resources and technical assistance to help NC businesses keep and add jobs and enhance their competitiveness.
Institute a Film Industry Workforce Training program, which will provide funds to Cape Fear Community College and Forsyth Technical Community College to train up to 400 workers for production crews.
Invest in the Biotechnology Strategic Growth Loan Fund to support technology-based, entrepreneurial companies with an already established technical proof-of-concept
Fund an AgBiotech Initiative to provide targeted fund¬ing for certain commercially relevant ag-biotech research projects in North Carolina.
Invest in an Energy Research and Green Jobs initiative to provide funds to Research Tri-angle Institute (RTI) to support energy research and green jobs; and invest in the North Carolina New Energy Production Initiative, which provides funds to promote energy production in North Carolina and in state and federal waters offshore, and explores new manufacturing opportunities linked to low natural gas prices.
Investing in Our Military Families
We must honor the sacrifice of our brave service¬men and women while preserving and enhancing North Carolina's well-earned reputation as the most military-friendly state in America. Gov. Perdue's budget invests in initiatives that enhance educational and job opportunities for those who have served our nation. Her budget also provides funds to improve the quality-of-life in communities where military installa¬tions are located. These initiatives include:
Provide tuition assistance by classifying certain military veterans (and their dependents) as resident students for tuition purposes. (A military veteran must have been last stationed at a military installation in North Carolina and honorably discharged on or after July 1, 2011.)
Fund Student 2 Student, a program of the Military Child Education Coalition that connects military-connected and civilian students in middle and high school to assist with transition and peer support.
Establish regional military counselors who perform military culture training for counselors, teachers and administrators, provide deployment support to schools, assist with crisis intervention, connect students with community agencies, and provide information on student opportunities, such as summer camps and college scholarships.
Direct additional funds to the National Guard to provide tuition assistance to all eligible soldiers and airmen.
Encourage small businesses to hire veterans and unemployed North Carolinians by providing a credit of up to $5,000 to companies that hire post-911 veterans or persons unemployed for greater than 180 days.
Provide funds to restore the 2011-12 reduction made to the Military Business Center at Fayette¬ville Technical Community College. This program works with communities and companies to develop and obtain federal business opportuni¬ties, including the U.S. military, at North Carolina military installations.
Support the hiring of additional faculty at UNC-W for the Accelerated Nursing Program. This 16-month program, based in Onslow County, will be targeted towards non-nursing veterans, military personnel, or the spouses of military personnel who have a bachelor's degree. The program provides a faster pathway towards careers in nurs¬ing and serves the community by increasing the supply of qualified nursing professionals.
Help for Military Base Communities
Re-establish the Military Morale and Welfare fund, a grants program for military installations throughout the state to provide community service and quality of life programs for military members and their families.
Provide funding and strategy for military communities to plan and position themselves favorably in preparation for poten¬tial future Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) actions and/or federal budget actions that affect North Carolina installations. Funds will support community planning, strategic communication, training range encroachment, and other needs identified in coordi¬nation with military and Department of Defense leadership.