Cooper seeks big debt package, pay hikes, Medicaid expansion

Roy Cooper at news release on Nov. 10, 2020. (Photo: Pool)

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is proposing a spending and borrowing spree that he says is critical to fulfilling education, health care and infrastructure demands evident before the pandemic but have been exacerbated since.

Cooper pitched his two-year state budget plan on Wednesday. He says the proposal is affordable and ensures North Carolina continues a vigorous recovery from the COVID-19 recession. It includes large educator pay raises and bonuses and a $4.7 billion bond referendum.

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Now lawmakers will try to fashion a budget bill that they hope he will sign. Republican legislators and Cooper failed to enact a conventional budget in 2019.