RALEIGH – Governor Roy Cooper is fond of saying that Republican leaders of the General Assembly aren’t ‘negotiating in good faith’ with him on the budget. He says it with a straight face after vetoing the budget and demanding Medicaid expansion (plus), or nothing. Meanwhile, Republicans on Jones Street have worked to introduce and pass mini-spending bills; offered to hold a special session for to debate Medicaid expansion, in exchange for budget approval; and now offer a further bump to teacher pay.
Cooper, of course, has never actually signed any of the teacher pay raise bills that have reached his desk, but Republicans are hoping enough Democrats will recognize the opportunity to break the budget impasse while addressing a stated policy goal.
Speaker Moore and Pro Tem Berger announced a bill that could get votes as early as Thursday floor votes. They said it said would add another $245 million to public education spending through mid-2021 above what is already in the budget. The fund will partially come through the revenue surplus; a surplus Democrats like Cooper said would never happen, mind you.
(When it comes to the surplus, we’d still rather them GIVE IT BACK)
So, will the Democrats bite? The proposal makes it clear that Cooper’s complaints about ‘good faith’ negotiations have no merit at all. The offer from Republicans also rewards Cooper’s hostage-taking strategy to a degree, adding hundreds of millions in more spending of YOUR money to appease petty Democratic leaders.
Unsurprisingly, though, the governor is already scoffing at the eminently reasonable offer as “a joke.”
“Republican leaders want sweeping corporate tax cuts and their entire bad budget in exchange for paltry teacher raises that are less than those for other state employees,” said Cooper’s mouthpiece Ford Porter.
Who’s negotiating in bad faith, now? Cooper’s petulant child act can ill afford to even acknowledge the good in anything Republicans offer because he’s boxed him self into the Far Left corner.
Those “paltry” teacher/staff raises are around 4.5 percent over two years. The average teacher salary is just under $54,000/year, which means this deal would land teachers an extra $2,400. Paltry?
In addition to the teacher pay deal, the budget as a whole is still on the Senate calendar, available for an override vote at any time. You can follow the action here.