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Cooper suggests expanding state budget to $29.3 billion, focuses on healthcare & education

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 2:06 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) - Gov. Roy Cooper focused heavily on affordable healthcare and childcare, education, and jobs in his budget recommendations Wednesday.

Cooper suggests expanding the state budget to $29.3 billion for the fiscal year 2022-2023.

WRAL reports the state was initially planning on spending $27 billion, but Cooper wants to increase that to $29.3 billion.

“Families have returned to their lives of work and school after tremendous challenges, but find that they still struggle to find affordable healthcare and childcare,” Cooper said.

“North Carolina is emerging from the pandemic stronger than before, and we will sustain that only if we invest in a strong foundation for our people: A quality education, good jobs and infrastructure, and access to affordable healthcare. Let’s use this historic opportunity to give families, businesses, and communities the tools they need to thrive.”

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper

Cooper’s plan, titled Building on Success, stresses workforce training for high-paying jobs, quality healthcare, clean air and drinking water, and powerful infrastructure amid climate crises.

Cooper’s recommendation for community and school safety suggests providing $38.7 million to stop violent crime, ensure safe gun storage, and bolster existing funding for school safety grants.

The governor’s budget also suggests providing more than $140 million for clean energy and environmental needs across the state. More information on his recommendation can be found here.

For ensuring “a sound basic education,” Cooper recommends providing $525.8 million toward funding year three of the Comprehensive Remedial Plan as well as more studies. You can find more information on this proposal here.

Cooper recommends providing $166 million “to address North Carolina’s economic development needs.” Cooper says the emphasis would be on supporting site development to attract “major employers,” and more.

Finally, Cooper suggests expanding Medicaid to give access to affordable health insurance to more than 600,000 more North Carolinians, including veterans, families with children, and others. The governor says no state dollars would be needed to expand Medicaid.

The General Assembly still has to approve the recommendations and then Cooper would sign the budget into law. You can read Cooper’s full recommendations here.

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