Purely Political: Gov. Cooper Vetoes Budget

RALEIGH – It should come as no surprise that Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the state budget bill Wednesday presented to him by the General Assembly last week.

The $24 billion budget included nearly $1 billion more in spending over last year’s budget (including more than $30 million in earmark abuse), increased teacher pay, state employee pay, funded school safety and mental health initiatives, and lowered income tax and corporate tax rates.

The six percent raise for teachers, though, wasn’t enough for Cooper, though, who announced his veto utilizing his usual class warfare style of pitting education funding against tax cuts.

We are in desperate need of more quality teachers and principals. The budget just doesn’t cut it,” said Cooper. The Democratic governor then went on to deride corporate tax cuts and income tax cuts “for the wealthy,” claiming that Republicans choose corporations and rich families over education in a zero sum game.

Before he broke out the veto pen, Republican leaders in the legislature urged him sign it instead of using a veto to grandstand.

“Gov. Cooper and his colleagues have yet to give North Carolinians a good reason not to support the budget passed by the General Assembly other than it isn’t the governor’s own- despite the fact that his proposal would saddle our state with a half billion dollar budget deficit in 2019-2020.”

Cooper’s budget recommendations, which the Left and a lot of the media seem to think should be hard guidelines, would have pulled back tax cuts for families making six figures on top of spending an unsustainable amount of taxpayer money.

Cooper’s focus on corporate tax cuts, and describing the false choice between those and funding education, is useful to stir up his political base, but downright silly when you look at it.

Corporate tax revenues are a small, and shrinking part of the state budget in the first place. Cuts to those tax rates yield a hypothetical drop in revenues that is mere a drop in the bucket when compared to the overall budget.

Instead of letting resident businesses that pay corporate rates keep more of their earnings, to invest in expansion and create jobs, Cooper would rather hike their taxes and then use taxpayer money to entice select businesses to move to this state with special tax breaks.

Further, Cooper’s budget proposal would have canceled planned rate cuts for people earning over $100,000, because, by his logic, those people don’t ‘need’ that money as much.

I bet there are quite a lot of individuals and small-business owners out there that would beg to differ.  A small business earning $250,000 a year hardly qualifies the owner as “wealthy” when all the costs are counted up. Those businesses, thousands of them here in the Old North State, are actually the lifeblood of Carolina communities and responsible for the majority of job creation.

No matter. Cooper would rather spew the same tired class warfare talking points in an effort to rile up his base before the fall elections.

For their part, Republicans maybe should be bragging about how much more money they are spending in an effort to combat the Democrats’ narrative. Limited government, fiscal conservatism, and respecting producers’ property rights are what won them their majorities and they’d be well served to revisit those principles.

While Cooper’s veto will get a lot of fawning press from sympathetic media across the state, helping spread his 2018 political pandering, it isn’t actually a big deal. Cooper has vetoed a dozen or so bills in his brief tenure, and seen nearly everyone of them overridden by Republican super-majorities.

This time will be no different, and Cooper’s veto pen will be revealed as flaccid once again.

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