N.C. official gives budget update at Jacksonville stop

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – State budget director Andrew Heath stopped in Jacksonville Tuesday where he gave an overview of the state’s economy and the NC Connect bond.

Heath said there are four main themes to this year’s budget.

They are: “Fiscal responsibility, teacher pay to $50,000, middle class tax cuts and investments in our mental and substance abuse issues,” said Heath.

Nearly 60 percent of the budget will be spent on education. The budget also has implications for Onslow County.

“A lot of it has significant impact on our area so that’s part of my job is to make sure we get some of it as well,” said Harry Brown, state senator, Onslow/Jones County.

The budget includes investments for two improvement projects under the Connect NC program.

Coastal Carolina Community College and Hammocks Beach State Park will both benefit.

Nearly half a million dollars was also invested into a savings reserve this fiscal year, bringing the total available for Hurricane Matthew cleanup to almost $2 billion, according to Heath.

“As we continue to have these preliminary damage assessments, all of the agencies are deploying resources to rescue people from the flood waters and get people evacuated,” Health said. “They’re incurring costs, and as those costs mount up there will be then reimbursement out of the rainy day fund at some point.”

Heath said the state can match the federal disaster relief fund in order to better help residents rebuild and get back on their feet.

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