Published: Wed, June 28, 2017
National | By Rosalie Gross

Cooper vetoes budget - and hints at another lawsuit

Cooper vetoes budget - and hints at another lawsuit

Republicans say they included measures in the budget that Cooper wanted like including tax reductions for low- and middle-income families, money for Hurricane Matthew recovery efforts and actions to tackle opioid abuse.

Governor Roy Cooper says he will veto the Republican-controlled General Assembly's budget agreement, WTVD reports. "It lacks the vision that our state demands at this critical time of growth and change".

On Tuesday afternoon, the Senate voted 34-14, largely along party lines, to override Cooper's veto.

"The legislative budget includes no money to help teachers buy school supplies, nothing for schools to hire additional support personnel, and drains millions of dollars from public education to pay for private school vouchers with no accountability", said a press release from the governor's office.

"Rather than matching the dreams and aspirations of our people, this budget is short-sighted and small-minded", Cooper said at an Executive Mansion news conference.

Monday's veto, which came almost a week before Cooper's constitutional deadline to act, could set the stage for the General Assembly to adjourn its annual work session by this weekend.

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GOP legislative leaders vowed a quick override - a very likely result given Republicans hold large majorities and have been unified in budget votes so far. The House, also dominated by Republicans, is expected to vote to override on Wednesday, passing the budget bill into law.

The two-year deal gives raises to teachers, state employees and retirees next year, but puts off income tax breaks until 2019. "What we need to get our leaders across the state and across our country to see is that investment in health care is a critical component of this", Cooper said. The final measure now goes to Gov. Roy Cooper.

The Wagram Democrat voted against the budget saying that it did not do enough for "the needs of North Carolina's most vulnerable community members". Cooper had sought at least 10 percent over two years. His office and fellow Democrats also have complained that the most veteran teachers would get only a $300 raise and $385 annual bonuses.

In an email, Lew Ebert, president and CEO of the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce, called the "competitive" tax changes "one of the many necessary ingredients to being one of the best states to do business, which in turn allows us to invest in education and infrastructure".

The veto announcement could set the stage for the General Assembly to adjourn its annual work session by this weekend.

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