News & Updates From Senator Edwards
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Dear District 48 Constituent,

Below you'll find the March edition of our newsletter. Through this newsletter, I hope to give you the chance to know and understand how each piece of legislation can affect our district and give you the opportunity to weigh in on current issues before the legislature.

As always, feel free to reach out to my office with any concerns. You can reach my Legislative Assistant, Danielle, at (919) 733-5745 or

Warm Regards,

The NC Senate passed our budget on its third reading after our session extended into the wee hours of the morning at about 3:30 AM on Friday. It will now move to the House where hopefully it will receive a quick concurrence. After all, there was a great deal of collaboration with the House subcommittee chairs through the development process. This budget was the culmination of an incredible four-month effort by my comrades and me in the Senate, along with a well-educated, well-informed and extremely professional General Assembly staff.
While my first budget is not perfect and there are clearly some items included that I'd rather see changed, it offers a well-balanced, thoughtful approach and targets the policy priorities of the Senate. It controls spending and makes some significant cuts in a few areas where cuts are needed. There are however places future cuts should be made. Following are just a few highlights of our budget. I will be posting more detailed information on my Facebook page over the next few days and in future newsletters.

Some Budget Highlights
  • Senate Republicans are proposing a $22.9 billion balanced budget that continues our philosophy of improving outcomes in public education, providing generous tax cuts for the middle class and job-creators, and saving for the future - maintaining a successful approach that has resulted in consecutive years of revenue surpluses, including a $580 million surplus this year.
  • As a result of responsible budgeting decisions over multiple years, millions of middle-class families and job-creating small businesses will also keep more of their own earnings under the Senate plan. It delivers nearly $1 billion in tax relief, with 99 percent of taxpayers either paying less or paying no state personal income taxes at all.
  • Our plan increases spending by 2.5 percent over last year's budget and 3.75 percent over actual spending and focuses that increase in key areas, like providing about $600 million more for public education.
  • It continues implementing a plan announced last year to dramatically increase teacher pay - providing teachers an average 3.7 percent raise this year and 9.5 percent raise over two years, while also ensuring they earn far more over the course of their careers.
  • Along with substantially increasing school principal pay, it directs roughly $200 million in the first year alone toward compensation increases to state employees.
  • It adds $363 million to the state's rainy day fund - bringing the savings reserve to its highest total ever.
  • It includes provisions to fund public school construction in economically struggling, rural counties, add thousands of slots to the pre-K program, and create new economic development funds to help attract major manufacturing employers to the state.

Despite nonstop predictions of doom and gloom, North Carolina continues to see robust economic growth and job creation under legi
slative Republican leadership. Here are two examples of that from just this week. 

First, the North Carolina Department of Commerce released record tourism numbers for last year, in spite of many municipalities trying to kill it. Tourism is an important part of our state's economy, and in 2016, visitors to North Carolina spent an unprecedented $22.9 billion, an increase of 4.3 percent from 2015.

Second, North Carolina has been ranked number one for its economic competitiveness by Site Selection Magazine for the third year in a row. It wasn't long ago that our state and its private sector economic engine were burdened with the highest taxes in the southeast and one of the worst tax climates in the nation, but under of the leadership of NC Senate Republicans and NC House Republicans, the number of working North Carolinians has soared to historic highs. Thanks to our nationally-recognized tax cuts and tax reform, North Carolina is open for business and companies are taking note.

These facts make one thing clear: businesses and people flock to North Carolina when commonsense reforms reduce the size of government and allow our state to thrive. I am proud you made me a part of this common sense solution.
From Raleigh
Additional Committee Assignment

I am honored to have been selected last week by Senator Berger to join the Pensions and Retirement Committee. I referenced many times during my campaign that the unfunded state retirement benefits are a ticking time bomb that threatens the financial security of not only those state employees to which we have made promises, but also to our children and grandchildren that will be responsible for making the payments on this unfunded debt. Our State's Treasurer, Dale Folwell reported recently that this debt is now nearly $70 billion. If tough choices are not made soon, the consequences could be catastrophic. My experiences as a business owner and a bank's director serving on its Compensation and HR Committee are recognized to add value to this committee.

Congratulations Danielle!

Danielle Plourd serves my Raleigh Office as Legislative Assistant. I am enthusiastic about her'official' graduation from Liberty University this weekend where she achieved her M.A. in Strategic Communications. Pictured with her are her mother father Beth and Bill, as well as Graham Whitaker (far right) who serves the office of Senator Berger.

Thank You Senate Pages

I was honored to sponsor, and the entire Senate was fortunate that last week we were served by two Pages from my District.  Christian Maxey and Alex Maddox witnessed firsthand the inner workings of committee hearings and Senate life. I was enthused to hear from each of them how they became interested in government and grew the desire to serve my office. There are many advantages for a young person to serve for a week as a Senate page. Learn about these benefits and how to apply on my website

A Little Bit of Levity