Republican legislators have gone yet another week without passing a new state budget, separating Medicaid Expansion from the budget so it can start or taking any votes. After weeks of delay, the Republican supermajority legislature has failed to pass a budget on time focusing instead on extreme, job-killing culture war bills and reckless plans to dismantle public education.
In the meantime, working people are losing health coverage as emergency federal programs end and Medicaid expansion waits unnecessarily for a budget to pass. Unfortunately, schools are also facing critical teacher shortages, but must gear up to begin the school year without teacher pay raises in place.
“Republican leaders have two supermajorities and no one to blame for this impasse but themselves. When they are here, they care more about divisive national politics than helping working people. They should return from vacation, get to work, turn the switch to start Medicaid Expansion and pass an education budget that helps middle class families and stops tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations,” said Governor Roy Cooper.
Every day that legislative budget negotiations stretch on past the end of the fiscal year on June 30 costs taxpayers approximately $42,000. As of July 17, the state legislature’s failure to pass a budget on time has cost taxpayers $756,000, including over $319,000 of daily expense payments collected by legislators. Since the Governor signed Medicaid Expansion into law in March, the state has missed out using or accessing approximately $2 billion of federal funding by not authorizing expansion. Every month that the state waits, North Carolina foregoes more than $500 million in federal dollars.
While legislators collect a per diem for pushing our state into the culture wars, here’s just a sample of what they’re costing North Carolinians:
- North Carolina loses $521 million a month every month that Medicaid expansion has not been implemented.
- Over 600,000 people will continue to be without health care as long as Medicaid expansion is not put into effect.
- This month alone, 9,000 people will lose Medicaid coverage that would otherwise have access to care if a budget were to be passed.
- North Carolina’s public schools are facing massive teacher shortages, which won’t improve as long as 94,000 public school teachers still haven’t received their well-deserved raises as back-to-school preparations begin.
Governor Cooper released his budget recommendations, First in Opportunity, on March 15 that outlined critical investments in North Carolina’s families, businesses and communities.
The Governor’s budget includes an average 18% teacher raise over the biennium, a $1 billion plan to support mental health, the largest investment in state employee compensation in 50 years and critical funding for child care, job training, and economic development. First in Opportunity is a responsible, balanced budget that does not raise taxes for North Carolinians while maintaining almost $7 billion in reserves in case of a potential downturn.