by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
A recurring television ad in North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race has prompted a response from Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake, speaker pro tem of the N.C. House of Representatives.
NCGA Increases Funding for Education
Raleigh, NC – A narrator in advertisements currently being run by the national Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee says, “House Speaker Thom Tillis drew a bulls-eye on public schools, cutting nearly $500 million. Tillis sliced and diced education, creating chaos in our classrooms and hurting middle class families.” Flyers paid for by the Democratic Party of North Carolina are being mailed stating that Gov. McCrory and Republican incumbents worked together to cut $500 million from NC schools. This is blatantly wrong and is just another example of weird Washington, D.C. math.
The total education budget in 2010-11 (last budget passed before Speaker Tillis assumed the role of House Speaker) was $10.8B. The total education budget for 2014-15 is $11.8B. Give this math problem to a 4th grade student, and he or she will tell you that this is a $1 Billion increase in education funding. Give this math problem to Harry Reid or the Democratic Party of North Carolina, and they say it is a $500M cut. This doesn’t look like a cut to me. Even if you figure in student population increases and inflation, the $1 Billion increase is still an increase, not a cut.
As Terry Stoops recently noted of the new state budget:
Most reports about the new budget have focused on an average teacher salary increase of 7 percent, “one of the largest pay raises for North Carolina teachers in a generation,” according to the report. The budget sets aside $282 million for teacher raises.
“Republican legislators have increased the K-12 education budget in each fiscal year since they have been in the majority in the General Assembly,” said report co-author Dr. Terry Stoops, JLF Director of Research and Education Studies. “With an elementary and secondary education budget that exceeds $8.1 billion, this year’s spending plan represents a 3 percent increase over last year’s education budget.”