CHAPEL HILL – The North Carolina Senate passed its $20.6 billion budget Thursday—by of vote of 33 to 17. But state leaders representing Orange County are concerned with the changes it entails.
Senator Ellie Kinnaird (Dem.) represents Orange and Chatham Counties. She says the senate budget calls for tax changes that will hurt the low and middle classes.
“This is a very unbalanced budget as far as priorities are concerned,” Kinnaird said.
The budget included more than $750 million tax cut over the next two fiscal years.
“What is really disturbing is that if you make under $60,000 dollars, you will pay more. Some could have to pay more than $1,000 a year more in taxes. If you make over that—you’ll get a big, huge tax refund. Some millionaires could get as much as $60,000 back,” Kinnaird explained.
Democrats in the Senate have accused the GOP of refusing to spend that money to restore cuts to public education.
Kinnaird says the budget calls for the elimination of funding for the equivalent of more than 4,500 teacher assistant positions in early grades.
“There’s nothing we can do except to hope that the House will see the most egregious missteps and tries to fix some of them,” Kinnaird said.
Sifting through the budget proposal— now in the House— is NC Representative for Orange County, Verla Insko (Dem).
“The Senate budget is causing concern across most of the states, even alarm, I would say due to the magnitude of the cuts,” Insko said.
She anticipates the house budget will not be as damaging to health care and education from what she has heard in the early stages of the budget process.
Her hope is for the house to re-focus on how to improve the state.
“I think in general our decisions have not been focused on creating jobs,” Insko said.
House representatives will make changes to the Senate’s plan and ultimately work out a final plan to present to NC Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.