Today, Representative Keith Kidwell joined his colleagues in the NC General Assembly in giving final bipartisan approval to a $1 billion historic relief package that includes direct payments to North Carolina parents of $335 to cover unexpected childcare costs.
"I am very pleased we are delivering our promise to North Carolinians it is time we bring back our economy. We will come through this financial crisis due to the strong Republican policies. This demonstrates the necessity for good conservative fiscal planning."
The relief measure also increases North Carolina's unemployment benefits for families to the second highest in the Southeast, while maintaining tax rates for employers still recovering from the pandemic and rehiring displaced workers.
The measure delivers on a top public school priority of holding education funding levels "harmless," regardless of expected drops in enrollment.
The "hold harmless" funding policy was cited by education leaders as the most important measure lawmakers could take to support North Carolina schools. Today, Republicans accomplished it.
"This is a historic day of promises kept for North Carolinians, the culmination of a decade of state government reform by this Republican General Assembly that allows us to continue investing in recovery for all our citizens today,"
Speaker Moore said.
The Coronavirus Relief Act 3.0 includes:
- $335 one-time payment to families with children to help offset costs of school closures
- $200/month increase in unemployment benefits
- $35 million for child care centers
- $8 million to help working parents offset child care costs
- $20 million for community-based organizations to provide virtual learning
- $75 million for Personal Proactive Equipment (PPE)
- $34 million for testing and tracing
- $10 million for internet connectivity for students
- $30 million for the GREAT program to improve rural broadband
- A hold harmless provision for school districts that see declining enrollment
- $20 million for COVID-19 treatment for the uninsured
- $45 million for a small business grant program
- $44.5 million for hurricane recovery from four major storms
- $5 million to promote safe access to in-person voting
- $115 million total increase for education
- $17 million in grants for exceptional children's services
- $50 million for Lost Wages Assistance Program
- $38 million for behavioral health
- Expands eligibility for Opportunity Scholarships
- Bipartisan priorities like the PPE+NC program
- Elimination of education wait lists for kids with disabilities
- Higher enrollment in virtual education options for families