Source: Editorial Board
Democrats in the General Assembly introduced a bill last week meant to make North Carolina a more affordable place to live for working families.
House Bill 569, also known as the “Working Families Act,” would address topics such as paid family and medical leave, affordable housing, affordable child care, child tax credits and the minimum wage.
When it comes to child care, the legislation would provide child care subsidies for working families and would also reenact the child tax credit for many North Carolinians with children.
The bill would also raise the state minimum wage to $15 per hour, effective Labor Day of this year, and also allow local governments to adopt ordinances requiring the local minimum wage to be higher than $15 per hour.
In order to help North Carolinians purchase a home, HB 569 would create a homebuyers’ assistance program that would help first-time homebuyers, teachers, public servants, active duty military members and veterans, and first responders with their down payments on a home.
The legislation would also create a new chapter in the state’s general statutes called the “Paid Family Leave Insurance Act.” This would provide employees with guaranteed paid leave – for a period of 12, 18, or 26 weeks – to deal with personal or family health issues.
House Bill 596 would also provide K-12 educators, community college and university faculty, and state employees with a salary increase. Retirees would get a cost of living increase and small businesses would be eligible for grants to help implement paid sick and family medical leave.
The goal of the legislation, according to Democrats, is to make North Carolina a place where all families can afford to live, work and thrive.
House Bill 596 is the type of legislation our leaders should be working on. North Carolinians, regardless of political affiliation, deserve lawmakers who are focused on, and care about, the issues that actually matter to voters – things like ensuring that families have good jobs, affordable housing and high-quality child care.