Lawmakers in the General Assembly are out of Raleigh for another week, as the state budget remains without any votes. According to Fox8, Republican House Speaker Tim Moore announced that votes would be rescheduled for Aug. 7 and that it was unlikely that any other votes would take place until then.
While state Republican leaders in the House and Senate further delay the state budget, many North Carolinians are feeling the impact of the legislature’s inaction.
The delay has stalled resolutions on raises for state employees and educators; causing challenges for school districts seeking to fill teacher vacancies before the start of the new school year.
“Our children need teachers and yet Republican leadership cannot help our (school) districts hire because they don’t know how much they can offer these teachers to be paid,” Rep. Julie von Haefen told WRAL.
For state employees, state officials have sounded the alarm over the mounting vacancies as state Republicans drag their feet. According to WBTV, the State Employees Association of North Carolina has called for a 10% raise increase, amid high turnover.
“I’ve heard from people that say ‘it’s hard to manage a family, it’s hard to do things that you need to do in order to have an honest and decent living,’” SEANC President Martha Fowler told WBTV.
The delay is also impacting thousands of North Carolinians’ health care coverage, as state Republicans tied Medicaid expansion to the passage of the state budget.
Over 9,000 North Carolinians will lose their Medicaid coverage this month due to state Republicans failing to implement the expansion.
“Making Medicaid Expansion contingent on passing the budget was and is unnecessary, and now the failure of Republican legislators to pass the budget is ripping health care away from thousands of real people and costing our state and our hospitals millions of dollars,” Gov. Cooper stated in a press release earlier this month.
“Tying it to the budget is tying our hands, and the legislature should decouple the two and start Medicaid Expansion now.”
Local groups, Cooper and state Democrats are urging state Republicans to separate Medicaid expansion from the budget, and to be thoughtful about the extended delay.
“I can’t believe I stand here on this date in July and we don’t have a budget. We are waiting for school personnel to get raises, for state employees to get raises and for critical funding,” Rep. Robert Reives III, the House minority leader, stated at a press conference.