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Old North State Report

June 25, 2021

Old North State Report – June 25, 2021

2021-23 NC BUDGET – Where are we?

The NC Senate advanced a state budget Thursday built on a major tax cut and federal stimulus money. The state’s personal income tax rate would fall from 5.25% to 3.99% over the next five years under the plan, and NC's 2.5% corporate rate would phase out entirely over the same period. The plan includes $1.5B in federally funded grants for businesses impacted by the pandemic, more than $1B in water and sewer rehabilitations around the state and $700M to expand rural broadband. The plan, largely written by the Senate’s Republican majority, generated some bipartisan support. Four Senate Democrats voted for the proposed plan, despite Gov. Roy Cooper’s repeated criticisms. The 32-18 vote would be good enough to override the governor, should he ultimately veto the budget, but it’s not unusual for a few Dems to vote for a GOP bill initially, then come back into their party’s fold after a veto. 

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While in Raleigh, Biden Delivers Clear Vaccination Message: It works. It’s free. It’s safe. It’s easy. Get the shot!

President Joe Biden was in Raleigh Thursday to encourage those who haven’t yet been vaccinated against Covid-19 to get a shot. He spoke at the Green Road Community Center in northeast Raleigh. In that part of town, just 35% of adults are at least partially vaccinated, which is well below the rate for Wake County as a whole. In the crowd were health workers and volunteers from WakeMed, Duke, and UNC Health who planned to knock on doors to ask people to get vaccinated. Biden said it’s easy to get a shot. He emphasized that there are 1,400 pharmacies in the state that have already administered more than 2 million shots.

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Senate Budget Includes Much for HHS, But Not Medicaid Expansion

In a much-delayed and much-anticipated bill, the state Senate presented their proposed biennial budget on Monday that includes billions of dollars to shift North Carolina’s Medicaid system from one run by the state to a new apparatus largely run by private managed-care insurance organizations. The $25.7B proposal would reduce tax rates for individuals and families, as well as phase out the corporate income tax in North Carolina. State coffers are temporarily overflowing with billions in federal coronavirus relief spending, courtesy of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), a $1.9T bill passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden in March. Despite federal incentives, the Republican-majority legislative body defied Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper once again, refusing to fund one of his long-held priorities, namely expanding the state’s Medicaid program to sweep in more than a half-million uninsured state residents who are mostly low-income workers.

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