RALEIGH – Earlier this week the North Carolina Senate added the two-year budget bill, vetoed by Governor Roy Cooper more than 6 months ago, to the calendar for a possible override vote. Alas, it was not to be, as Republicans were one vote shy of whipping up enough support to make this budget law notwithstanding the objections of the governor.
The bill was sent back to committee and the Senate and House adjourned, not to return until April, and so North Carolina remains without a budget for at least a few months. Many more months, judging by comments made by N.C. Senate leader Phil Berger.
“I do not see us doing a second-year budget in the short session,” Sen. Phil Berger, (R-Rockingham)
Berger pointed out that because the political landscape isn’t going to change until after November elections, they’re not likely to pass or modify a budget this year either. That’s because Governor Cooper and the Democrats will hold the budget hostage to Medicaid expansion and exorbitant spending demands, something the Republican majority will never agree to (and for good reason).
Of course the Democrats’ spin is that Republicans are holding out because they don’t like paying teachers what they deserve and want “corporate tax cuts” instead. It’s classic snarky malarkey from the Left, knowing full well that Republicans passed a budget with a 6.4% teacher pay raise after five consecutive years of such raises under Republican majorities. Yet, the average Jane and Joe only hear the loudest voices with the most friends in the media, so Cooper and the Democrats have shaped a narrative that they asre pro-education, pro-teachers, while Republicans are against the kids, teachers, poor people, and minorities. Text book.
If there really no budget in 2020, it means the state government will continue operating on 2018-2019 budget levels. No teacher raises, no tax cuts, no reforms. We joked previously about the budget impasse actually reducing government spending if it lasts long enough, but it is starting to seem less ridiculous with each passing day.