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Legislature delays budget introduction to maximize time for Governor to submit compromise offer

The following is a press release from the office of Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, R-Rockingham


N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) and Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) today announced they will delay introduction of a budget to maximize time for Governor Roy Cooper to provide specific compromise proposals.
 
In a joint statement, Senator Berger and Speaker Moore said, “Last week, we hoped to have the budget read in by this evening. We are delaying that schedule to maximize the time for Governor Cooper to respond to our offers from our Friday morning meeting. We have requested specific compromise proposals from the Governor for two weeks and he has not provided any. We hope he does so soon.”
 
The last workday on which the legislature can pass a budget before the end of the fiscal year is Friday, June 28, 2019. Here is a timeline of budget negotiations so far.
 
June 11, 2019 – Legislative budget writers send a letter to Governor Cooper asking that he “please share with us your list of substantive budget proposals that, if included, would earn your support.”
 
June 12, 2019 – Cooper responds with a copy of his entire budget, and says that he will “direct my negotiators to bring to the first session a short list of budget items that would earn my signature.”
 
June 14, 2019 – Legislators send a letter to Governor Cooper requesting a specific compromise proposal on taxes.
 
June 14, 2019 – Legislators send a letter to Governor Cooper requesting a specific compromise proposal on teacher and state employee salaries.
 
June 15, 2019 – Governor Cooper responds to legislators’ requests for specific compromise proposals: “We will achieve a better outcome by negotiating the budget comprehensively rather than engaging in piecemeal discussions.”
 
June 18, 2019 – Senior legislative and executive branch staff convene to negotiate the budget comprehensively. Executive branch staff does not share specific compromise proposals and tells legislative branch staff that there will be a budget veto unless the legislature expands Medicaid.
 
June 18, 2019 – Legislative budget writers send Cooper a letter expressing a desire to negotiate the budget and its major provisions separately from Medicaid expansion: “All of us agree these are major priorities. We should talk about them and reach a compromise budget.”
 
June 19, 2019 – Legislative budget writers meet with Governor Cooper at the Executive Mansion. The Governor’s readout of that meeting is largely accurate. The Governor said it would be better to have serious budget negotiations now instead of a drawn-out process. The Governor wants options to expand healthcare coverage to be on the table.
 
June 20, 2019 (9:30am) – Senator Berger and Speaker Moore call Governor Cooper and leave him a voicemail asking to meet that day to negotiate the budget.
 
June 20, 2019 (4:30pm) – Governor Cooper returns the call and everybody agrees to meet at 9:00am the next day. Senator Berger asks the Governor to come to the meeting with specific compromise proposals.
 
June 21, 2019 – Senator Berger, Speaker Moore, Governor Cooper, and Representative Darren Jackson meet at the historic Capitol. Senator Berger and Speaker Moore present a list of negotiating positions on total spending, teacher and state employee salaries, capital funding, tax relief, public education, and the rainy day fund. Governor Cooper does not present any negotiating positions beyond general comments about corporate tax cuts and teacher salaries. Senator Berger and Speaker Moore propose a special legislative session to address healthcare access issues, including Medicaid expansion. Governor Cooper rejects this offer.
 
June 24, 2019 – Legislative leaders announce they’re delaying budget introduction to maximize the time for Governor Cooper to provide specific compromise proposals. The last workday on which the legislature can pass a budget before the end of the fiscal year is Friday, June 28, 2019.
Staff

EdNC staff reporting relies on staff, interns, and columnists.