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Please see below the latest update from Interim UNC System President, Dr. Bill Roper, regarding the state budget. 

Dear Colleagues, 

As you may have heard, the Legislature recently adjourned until January 14th following a week-long session focused on redrawing Congressional district maps. This action comes at the end of a long session, which began in January and ended on October 31st, featuring a number of bills that will impact the UNC System. Here is the current status of some important matters relevant to the work that we do. 

The State Appropriations Act (H. 966) provided significant funding for the University, including a number of UNC System Board of Governors-approved priorities. It included almost every UNC System policy request, including a number of long-held priorities, which provide additional flexibility to our institutions. H. 966 included more than $630 million in authorized funding for major renovations and new capital projects, as well as $80 million in much-needed repair and renovation funding to address our significant infrastructure backlog.  

However, the budget act only provided $15 million and $30 million in each year of the biennium for compensation increases, which equates to roughly a half (0.5) percent and one percent (compared to two and a half percent and five percent for most non-UNC System state employees). The final version of the budget was vetoed by Governor Cooper in late June. On September 11th, the House overrode the governor’s veto. This action moved the bill to the Senate for its consideration of the veto override. This discussion has yet to take place. 

Before adjourning on October 31st, the Legislature passed two significant bills impacting the UNC System. H. 231 would have provided the pay raises that were included in the budget for both UNC and NC Community College System employees, along with a retiree bonus. More importantly, the Legislature passed S. 354 (Strengthening Educator Pay Act), which would have increased the raises for UNC System employees by another $40.8 million and $82.1 million in each year of the biennium, contingent upon a veto override of H. 966. When added to the increase in the Faculty Recruitment & Retention Fund included in the budget, S. 354 would have resulted in a net increase of roughly four percent over the biennium. Unfortunately, the governor vetoed both bills, which leaves the UNC and the NC Community College Systems without new resources to provide critical raises until after the veto is overridden.

This past Friday, the governor offered a counter-proposal. This proposal includes limited (two percent) raises to University employees who are exempt from the State HR Act, while providing those who are subject to the State HR Act with raises equal to that of other state agencies. Rest assured, I will continue to fight for fair compensation increases for all University employees comparable to those received by other state employees. 

In short, I’m optimistic and hopeful that we’ll see a state budget implemented in January with the additional compensation funding included in S. 354. We appreciate the Legislature hearing our concerns with the original budget and offering its support for addressing our compensation needs.              

Sincerely, 

Bill Roper 

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