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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — Gov. Pat McCrory has signed into law a North Carolina state government budget bill that raises teacher and state employee salaries significantly for the first time in years.

McCrory signed the measure during an Executive Mansion ceremony Thursday morning.

The Republican governor announced his intention to sign the bill last week. The $21.1 billion bill adjusts the second year of the two-year budget law approved last summer.

The measure gives $1,000 raises to most state workers and an average 7 percent increase for teachers.

Democrats and other critics say veteran teachers are getting very small raises and losing separate longevity salary supplements. McCrory says naysayers failed to offer alternative plans.

Republicans say current teacher assistant positions were preserved, even as funding for assistants fell $85 million compared to last year.

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