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By Sen. Bill Rabon
The North Carolina Senate reconvened for the short session last week and there is no shortage of work to be done.
The primary purpose of the short session is to make necessary adjustments to the budget so government spending will continue to benefit citizens and improve efficiency.
Last July, we passed a two-year budget that invested in core services, streamlined state government, strengthened public education and helped grow North Carolina’s economy while cutting taxes for all North Carolinians.
May 20 was a very busy day on Jones Street. It was Military Appreciation Day, and we had the opportunity to those who have so nobly served this country. Forestry Day was also May 20.
On May 21, we celebrated the arts and graduate students. I was able to meet with a few graduate students who stopped by the office. Additionally, the American Kennel Club brought us Canines at the Capital, where we were greeted with several four-legged friends.
I also had the privilege of meeting with several constituents this week. We are always happy to see visitors from our district stop by.
We were privileged to have Jackson Ussery from Elizabethtown serve as our Senate page this week. He was extremely helpful in his duties, and we appreciated all of his hard work.
GOP tax reforms have allowed businesses to expand and create jobs. North Carolina leads the nation in the declining unemployment rate (2.2 percent lower than one year ago). The rate remained below the national average for a third consecutive month at 6.2 percent, after dropping beneath the mark for the first time since March 2006. Four to 5 percent unemployment is considered near full employment by historical standards. Employees added more than 15,000 new jobs across the state in April.
Since January 2011, the unemployment rate has dropped by more than 4 percent, over 220,000 jobs have been added to North Carolina’s economy and tax reform has allowed North Carolinians to keep more of their hard-earned money.
Improving educational outcomes for our children is a responsibility I take very seriously. Investing in high-quality teachers is vital for the achievement of our students who represent the future of this nation.
Back in February, state leaders announced a plan to boost early career teacher salaries to $35,000 over the next two years and provide a pay increase to all teachers in the first 10 years of their career.
The Senate remains committed to increasing teacher pay during the short session. Senate Bill 787, filed by Sens. Tom Apodaca, David Curtis and me will ensure at least 51 percent of state appropriations to public schools be directed to the allotment for K-12 classroom teachers.
We will be hard at work for the next few weeks and expect this session to be action-packed as usual. Thank you all for your support, and please do not hesitate to contact me at my office in Raleigh at (919) 733-5963 or email Bill.Rabon@ncleg.net. My legislative assistant, Paula Fields, or my intern, Catherine Kilian, will assist you.
Sen. Bill Rabon, R-Southport, represents Brunswick, Bladen, New Hanover and Pender counties in the North Carolina Senate and faces Democrat Ernie Ward in November’s general election. He can be reached in Raleigh at (919) 733-5963 or Bill.Rabon@ncleg.net.