The North Carolina state legislature must give our teachers and state employees a raise, not just a bonus. It has been widely reported that state budget negotiators have agreed to a nonrecurring $750 across-the-board bonus for teachers and state employees. Because nothing is final, this is my attempt to convince everyone why the agreement is wrong for teachers and state employees.
As negotiations started, the House proposed a $500 across-the-board raise at a cost of $134.9 million in this year’s budget while the Senate wanted a $750 across-the-board bonus at a one-time cost of $202.3 million. But here is the rub: Not only is the $500 across-the-board raise cheaper this year for the state, allowing for full funding of both driver’s education and textbooks, but it’s better for the employee in the long run, and the difference is huge.
It’s equally as clear that the House negotiating proposal to do a $500 across-the-board raise is still superior to the Senate demand for a $750 bonus. Of course, in this year, the bonus would be $250 more, but each year going forward, the raise is a better deal for the employee than the bonus. Over 30 years, the raise would provide an employee with an employee with an additional $15,975. Furthermore, the raise would provide an additional retirement benefit of $356 a year for the rest of the employee’s life.
Of course, there is a simple compromise between the House and Senate proposals that would be a win/win for our teachers and state employees. We could give a $500 raise and a $250 retirement-eligible bonus. Our teachers and state employees deserve it.
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State Rep. Darren Jackson
The writer, a Democrat, represents N.C. District 39. The length limit was waived.