Governor No: Cooper Vetoes Teacher Raises, Tax Cuts Again

RALEIGH – Governor Roy Cooper proudly announced the veto of four duly passed mini-budgets on Friday, rejecting the teacher pay raises, small-business tax cuts, and cyber security funding therein.

Of course, the entire reason the General Assembly is faced with passing mini-budgets is because Cooper is holding the long overdue biennial budget hostage to demands for Medicaid expansion and huge spending increases. Republicans, luckily, have not folded to the pressure, but instead have presented the governor with choices to make pitting his partisan pandering against responsible governance. Considering Cooper’s pattern of behavior during his term, it’s not at all surprising which one he continues choosing.

From the Carolina Journal:

“Gov. Roy Cooper, at a Friday, Nov. 7, Executive Mansion news conference, announced a veto of four mini-budgets, including measures giving preK-12 teachers a 3.9% raise, boosting salaries to community college and university employees, and offering cost-of-living adjustments for state retirees. 

Cooper also vetoed a bill reducing the state’s franchise tax on businesses and expanding tax subsidies to film production companies.

Finally, he nixed a bill funding the Department of Information Technology. In it were provisions to upgrade cybersecurity and modernize IT at the Department of Public Instruction. […]”

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By the looks of the remaining calendar, including a heavy congressional redistricting lift, those bills will not stand for a veto override anytime soon, drawing the budget stalemate (and teacher raises) out into 2020. Sensing a hopelessness on getting Medicaid expansion, Cooper’s goal posts have now been moved to include the exorbitant amount of education spending he prefers. Yet, Republicans’ offer of 4 percent teacher raises versus Cooper’s demand of 8+ percent just isn’t quite enough to convince Cooper to give up his electioneering from Blount Street.

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There to defend him was the N.C. Association of Educators (NCAE):

“[…] With public school teachers standing behind the governor dressed in red, symbolizing the “Red4Ed” campaign run by the N.C. Association of Educators teacher union, Cooper said, “Let’s stop this stubborn insistence on passing more corporate tax cuts” and funnel more money into public education.

“The paltry pay raises in this legislation are not enough,” Cooper said. Teachers would rather get nothing than the increases the Republican-led General Assembly enacted. […]”

Those “corporate tax cuts” cuts would leave more money in the pocket of thousands of (large and small) business owners across the state, but Cooper seethes at the idea that enterprising, productive North Carolinians keep more of their own money.

The NCAE, and organization ostensibly advocating for all teachers, notoriously represents a relatively small (and shrinking fast) portion of them across the state. Cooper, who has been campaigning on teacher raises since 2015 and has constantly performed the poor teacher blues, is pettishly refusing teacher raises because they have an ‘R’ beside them.

It’ll be wonder how forgiving the Democratic base will be of Cooper as he literally works against their stated goals. But we know that the real goals are much better served with vitriol and temper-tantrums to smear Republicans in the public realm while offering nothing but evermore government control and abuse of taxpayers.

In the end, if he wants a bigger teacher pay raise, he can rethink his months old veto of the big budget – it had a 25 percent higher teacher raise.

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