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Headline Roundup: Governor Presents Budget, Bank Stress Tests Results Revealed Today, More

Governor McCrory's budget release today focuses heavily on education. As expected, it includes raising the base salary for beginning teachers to $35,000. Teachers would continue to move up the pay scale, based on experience. That didn't happen for several years because teacher pay was frozen.

Budget Director Lee Roberts says the governor's budget adds an incentive to attract and keep good teachers. 

"Once you have everybody to a minimum and once you've moved people along the salary schedule that additional resources beyond that incremental resources beyond that should really be put toward teachers who are making the most difference in the classroom," Roberts said. 

The budget includes $15 million to reward high-performing teachers. 

Roberts also says the education portion of the budget will provide funding to hire 1,400 new teachers to keep up with the enrollment growth. We'll have more on the governor's proposed budget throughout the day and on All Things Considered from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m.

House Passes Economic Incentives Bill 
The state house has passed an economic incentives bill that was a major priority of Governor McCrory. The bill would completely replenish funds that the state uses to lure companies to relocate or expand in North Carolina.  Lawmakers said the bill is time sensitive and is needed for a specific deal as soon as possible. They did not elaborate what the specific deal is but have said three auto manufactures are currently considering locating in North Carolina.

South Carolina Finalist For New Volvo Plant
South Carolina is a finalist for a new Volvo plant. The State newspaper reports four state legislators say the carmaker is considering building its planned North American factory in the Charleston area. Several state representatives tell the paper they’ve received requests for road projects and workforce training tied to the potential Volvo plant.

The Financial Times reports Volvo has asked for incentives packages from South Carolina, North Carolina, and Kentucky. 

United Healthcare Customers May Have To Find New Doctor
In the Charlotte area, roughly 80,000 United Healthcare customers may have to find a new doctor. The health insurance company says that's how many people are affected by its contract expiring with Carolinas Healthcare System. 

Bill Allowing NC Magistrates To Refuse To Perform Same-Sex Marriages Scheduled For Debate
The House judiciary committee is scheduled to debate a Senate bill that would give North Carolina magistrates and other judicial workers the option of refusing to carry out duties for same-sex marriages over religious objections. Senate leader Phil Berger filed the bill in response to a local magistrate quitting his job after federal judges struck down North Carolina's same-sex marriage ban in October.

The proposal would prevent judicial workers from performing duties for all marriages for at least six months if they refuse to carry out duties for same-sex marriages. Opponents of the exemption say public officials can't pick and choose which duties they'll execute and consider it thinly-veiled discrimination.

Bank Stress Tests Results Revealed Today
The Fed is due to release the results of their latest stress test later this afternoon. It’s the first of two releases which will show the official health of the nation’s largest financial institutions, including Bank of America. These results determine if banks are cleared by regulators to offer dividends to shareholders. Today’s report is released at 4:30. The second report comes out next Wednesday.