Gov. Roy Cooper announced Monday that he will veto the $23 billion budget plan sent to his desk last week.
“We need a budget that helps us meet the potential of our state. Unfortunately what the legislature passed and sent to me is not that budget. It does have some provisions that I wanted and I pushed for,” Cooper said at a press conference at the Governor’s Mansion, surrounded by teachers. “It’s not the direction I envision for our state.
“Simply put. this budget shortchanges our state at a time that it doesn’t have to. It prioritizes tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations and comes up short for education and the economy. Rather than matching the dreams and aspirations of our people, this budget is short-sighted and small-minded. It lacks the vision that our state demands at this pivotal time of growth and change. Now I’m troubled by many proposals in this budget, but chief among my concerns is education.”
“Republican legislators say that what I asked for in a teacher pay plan and what they proposed in a teacher pay plan matches my proposal,” he added. “That is simply false; it doesn’t even come close to what I have proposed for teacher pay. I laid out a multi-year plan to get teachers to the national average, at least in teacher pay. “
Cooper’s plan would have spent $810 million compared to the $470 million allocation actually in the budget.
Cooper also criticized budget items like the school voucher program and the education savings account funding for special needs children and children from veteran families.
“Because this budget shortchanges the needs of out growing state, and has the wrong priorities, I will veto it today,” he said.
Cooper said that with certain changes he will sign the budget. Cooper said that the budget should take out the corporate tax cut and should only give the personal income tax cut to those making less than $150,000 a year.
Cooper also wanted his childcare tax credit in the budget. Cooper also demanded that the legislature include more funding for education in the areas of pre-K funding, teacher’s assistants, and school supply stipends.
He also called for the phase-out of the school voucher program that has been growing in the state over the last few years. Cooper also said that the budget must invest in expanding broadband Internet access across the state.
Senate Leader Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and House Speaker Rep. Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) responded to Cooper’s press conference saying, “By rejecting our fourth consecutive teacher pay raise – this time totaling 10 percent on average – a major middle-class tax cut and much-needed Hurricane Matthew relief, Gov. Cooper has broken some of his biggest promises to the voters, and they will hold him accountable. We will too, by quickly overriding his veto.”
Both chambers passed the budget with easily enough votes for veto overrides.
SB257, the budget bill, passed with 77 votes in the House on third reading and with 39 votes in the Senate.
A veto override requires a vote of three-fifths of the legislators voting. Thirty votes are required in the Senate for a veto override and 72 are required in the House, if the full chamber is voting.
The House and Senate have overturned all four of Cooper’s vetoes so far.