Gov. Cooper to veto $23B state budget, legislators will override

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) Governor Roy Cooper is making it official. He’s saying no to the state budget lawmakers at the General Assembly approved last week, announcing he’ll veto the bill.

“This budget is short-sighted and small minded,” said Gov. Cooper, a Democrat.

He said the budget does not do enough for North Carolina teachers and for education funding. He was joined by more than a dozen teachers at the executive mansion for his veto announcement.

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The budget includes an average 3.3 percent raise this year for teachers and an average 9.6 percent increase over the next two years. Budget opponents said that falls short, especially considering the rising cost of healthcare premiums.

“Teachers see through dishonest budget gimmicks,” Cooper said.

“We continue to give away monies to people who really don’t need them rather than investing in the lives of our children,” said Kimberly Manning, a high school teacher with Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools who has been a teacher in North Carolina for 22 years. “They actually raised healthcare benefits or allowed them to be raised. So many of us pay more or actually lose money each year.”

Republican leaders said the budget delivers much of what the governor had asked for and say his veto breaks promises the governor made to the voters.

“The governor has chosen politics over saying yes to do so many of the things that he wanted and asked for,” said Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party. “What the governor is doing is stopping teacher pay raises, stopping state worker pay raises.”

The budget also makes tax changes, lowering the personal and corporate income tax rates. The governor and Republican leaders are at odds over those changes, too.

“It’s the wealthy and the corporations who get more and more,” Cooper said.

“The governor can’t quite make up his mind about what he thinks about tax cuts,” said Donald Bryson, State Director for Americans for Prosperity. “He’s opposed to cutting the corporate tax rate but just a couple months ago he gave $40 million to a Swiss bank to expand in North Carolina.”

Bryson was referring to tax breaks given to Credit Suisse, which announced plans in May to bring 1,200 jobs to Morrisville.

Republican legislative leaders are promising to overturn the veto quickly. Both sides said the other will be held accountable.

“You will have lost your credibility with the voters,” said Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger (R – Guilforad) at a news conference last week.

“If they do push this budget through, then we’ll be taking our case to the people,” Cooper said Monday.

RELATED: Cooper slams NC budget deal, calls it ‘most fiscally irresponsible’ he’s ever seen

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