RALEIGH – They say nothing is certain in life, except death and taxes. Well, the expectation that Governor Roy Cooper was going to veto the Republican legislature’s budget bill got pretty darn close to death and taxes. Indeed, foregone conclusion that Cooper would veto the budget was fulfilled in late June for the third time in three years as the Democratic governor called it an ‘astonishing failure.’
The budget is a failure in Cooper’s eyes because it does not included giant expansions of government, such as Medicaid expansion, spending splurges, tax increases. The business tax cuts are particularly egregious from the Left’s perspective. Cooper likes to describe them as corporate giveaways and beat the ‘Big Corporations’ Drum for all the Leftists to pump their fists to, while purposely ignoring the fact that the small-business owners that often face those taxes employ well over a million people in the state and create tens of thousands of net jobs each year.
So Cooper vetoed tax cuts for small-business owners and is hoping he has the numbers to uphold it. There were several Democrats in each chamber that voted for the budget bill — which also includes teacher raises, spending increases in a myriad other programs — but some of them literally stood with Cooper as he signed the veto, making it another uphill battle for Republicans to find the votes for an override.
Of course, Cooper presents the situation as a failure of Republicans to negotiate in good faith, and the press helps him look like the good guy as much as they can. In reality, though, Cooper was demanding Medicaid expansion be included in this year’s budget from the very beginning, a position he (and everyone else) knows the Republican majority is (kinda/sorta) unified against. The governor knew he was going to veto this budget, the Republicans knew he was going to veto this budget, and know one’s quite sure how it will be modified to gain sufficient favor to pass into law.
Will Republicans give in to the pressures for Medicaid expansion with some Republican-ized version of a Big Government healthcare expansion? Or will they stand their ground and force the Democratic minority to choose between backing their Dear Leader or giving (more) teacher raises?
Most of the long budget session has been relatively tame through out the spring and early summer. That is likely to change now that the legislative majority stuck between a rock and a hard place with this budget veto and a slim majority. The override vote has been scheduled in the House for this week, but the date can be pushed back time and again as leaders work to whip votes.