News: Quick Takes

Senate overrides governor’s budget veto; House vote likely Tuesday

Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham (CJ photo by Don Carrington)
Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham (CJ photo by Don Carrington)

The Senate delivered swiftly on a leadership pledge to kill Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the 2018-19 General Fund budget, voting 34-13 to override Thursday, June 7.

Senate Bill 99, the Appropriations Act of 2018, was sent to the House, which had adjourned until Monday night. The lower chamber is expected to take an override vote Tuesday morning. As in the Senate, the House will need a three-fifths supermajority vote to override the veto.

Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, defended the $23.9 billion Republican-written budget. He  said it was superior to Cooper’s $24.5 billion spending plan. The nonpartisan legislative Fiscal Research Division issued a report Wednesday showing Cooper’s budget proposal has a hole of $469,303,681.

The governor denied the deficit at a press conference announcing his veto Wednesday. He later admitted the mistake, attributing it to an error by his budget office staff.

“That’s quite an accomplishment to go from half a billion dollar surpluses to a half a billion dollar hole in one year,” Berger said in urging senators to override Cooper’s veto. “Usually it takes several years in order to create that kind of a problem.”

To meet his spending goals, Cooper would have to raise taxes, since Democrats rarely offer spending cuts, Berger said.

“We’ve seen this movie before, and I don’t think we want to see a rerun of that,” Berger said. “The budget that was adopted by this General Assembly that the governor has unwisely, in my view, chosen to veto needs to be put into place.”

“I will not sign my name to a budget that protects corporations and the wealthy at the expense of schools and students,” Cooper wrote in his veto message to the General Assembly.

“This budget falls short of what our teachers and public education need,” the message says. “North Carolinians will not stand for a secret, unchangeable budget born of a broken legislative process.”