By Alexandra Forter Sirota, Cedric Johnson, and Tazra Mitchell
The Legislature’s upcoming budget debate is an opportunity to change the state’s direction and ensure a stronger recovery from the Great Recession. To do so, policymakers must make the critical investments needed to alleviate the economic struggles of North Carolina families, cre ate pathways to the middle class, and strengthen communities across the state.
A pay increase for teachers is just one issue that policymakers must address when they return to Raleigh this spring. A host of other public services are starved of resources too, which threatens to erode their quality, efficiency and effectiveness–particularly as North Carolina needs to position itself to compete for good-payingjobs and deliver a high quality of life to its residents.
Legislators can make the 2014 session a success by measurably increasing investments in the classroom, public health, environmental protections, and the courts. This will require adequate revenue, which means lawmakers must revisit the huge tax cuts they passed in 2013. At the very least, lawmakers should halt scheduled reductions to the personal and corporate income tax rates that are set to take effect in 2015 and not pursue additional tax cuts.