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Governor Cooper vetoes budget

Governor Roy Cooper vetoed the budget passed by lawmakers last week, meaning the proposal will have to go back to the legislature for a veto override. 

A press release from Cooper’s office called out the budget process, saying that “Republican leaders met behind closed doors with lobbyists to craft the budget and refused to receive public input or allow votes on amendments.”

“Unfortunately, everyday North Carolinians were shut out from this year’s budget process in an unprecedented authoritarian power grab by legislative leaders,” Cooper said in the press release.

The press release also noted the May teacher rally where educators marched in Raleigh for higher pay and more education resources. Cooper proposed in his budget plan halting tax cuts slated to go into effect next year in order to give bigger raises to teachers than were in the General Assembly’s revised 2018-19 budget proposal. 

“The Republican legislature’s budget keeps income tax breaks for corporations and families making over $200,000 a year instead of investing in education,” Cooper said.

The press release also highlights a few proposals in the legislative budget that Cooper finds problematic, including: 

  • $50 million in federal funding for early childhood education was redirected in order to fund more tax breaks for the wealthy, leaving tens of thousands of children without access to quality early childhood education
  • New funding for school supplies was provided to districts with Republicans at risk of losing their elections instead of to teachers across the state in the form of a school supply stipend
  • A measure that was included would allow cities to raise taxes to establish charter schools that could ultimately lead to increased school segregation

“The day is coming soon when the state budget will value education, clean water, and health care,” Cooper said. “But until then, this budget is vetoed.”

In a joint statement, House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, and Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, criticized Cooper’s veto and vowed to override it. They said he was more interested in scoring political points than helping North Carolina residents. 

“He has opposed a 6.5 percent teacher pay raise, he has opposed an 8 percent state trooper raise, he has opposed a new living wage of $31,200 for state employees, and he has opposed tax cuts that would result in 99 percent of families and small businesses having reduced or no state income tax,” they said in the emailed statement. “The people of North Carolina deserve better and they will get it when we override his veto.”

Read more about the Governor’s budget proposal here

Read more about the General Assembly’s budget proposal here

Cooper released this side-by-side comparison of his budget and the General Assembly’s. 

Alex Granados

Alex Granados was the senior reporter for EducationNC from December 2014-March 2023.