By Paul Woolverton
North Carolina can increase its spending without increasing taxes, Gov. Pat McCrory promised when he released his proposed budget for the next two years Thursday.
McCrory’s priorities include increased mental health care in the prisons, bigger salaries for nearly 10,000 correctional officers, more money for teachers and education, and a tighter focus on programs for the military and veterans.
“Our goal is to continue to demand efficiency and effectiveness in how we deliver our services,” McCrory said during a presentation of the budget. “We’re still fixing parts of the government that have been broken for decades. And investing in those areas and reengineering those areas to make sure our taxpayers get the best bang for their hardworking tax dollars.”
McCrory proposed a $21.5 billion General Fund – the portion of the budget that covers most government services people may see in their everyday lives such as public education and colleges, state parks and the court system. This would be for 2015-16, starting July 1. For the second year, he proposes $22.2 billion in spending.
McCrory also wants the state to borrow as much as $2.8 billion for long-term projects. About half would pay for transportation projects and the other half would repair or replace old government buildings in poor condition.