RALEIGH – Democrats in the N.C. House may have blinked briefly when majority leadership organized a successful override of Governor Roy Cooper’s budget veto, but the embarrassment was motivation enough to not blink again. And so, with no budget in place, state lawmakers have adjourned for the year, not scheduled to reconvene until January 2020.
The issues are myriad, but come down to Cooper’s demands for Medicaid expansion and accelerated spending and the Republicans’ lack of a veto-proof majority. Republican leaders offered the governor a special session focused solely on Medicaid expansion, but he demurred, apt to keep stoking partisan flames and holding the budget hostage.
Now that lawmakers have left town, Cooper has the gall to say that it was Republicans that refused to negotiate key demands, such as teacher pay, as stand alone items. He has to; it’s the only way he can spin the fact that teachers haven’t received their salary raises because of his vetoes.
“Gov. Roy Cooper said that there are no talks scheduled to help North Carolina educators get “what they deserve” and receive a raise in time for the holidays.
Cooper accused Republicans of refusing his offer to negotiate teacher pay as a stand-alone item, separate from Medicaid expansion.
“I hope that we could have some conversation over the holidays, but they are coming back Jan. 1. I think they are going to hear it from their educators over the holidays about the fact that they haven’t gotten a decent pay raise,” said Cooper. […]”
HA! Those mean Republicans, keep much deserved pay raises just out of teacher’s hands, and right before the holidays. What kind of heartless politicians would do such a thing for political leverage?
Well, Cooper did. The General Assembly passed multiple mini-budgets that raised teacher pay considerably, and Cooper vetoed them, saying the were not enough. So he could gain political leverage. Right before the holidays.
While the raises were not the 9 percent Cooper is asking for, he could have banked a 4 percent raise by signing that stand alone bill, grossing the average teacher about $2,400 a year in salary, and returned in January to keep pushing for more. But, no, Cooper it is not enough and chose an all or nothing approach.
Cooper may not think much of $2,400 — it’s a drop in the bucket to the kind money he typically raises in sketchy side deals — but we’d venture to say that’d be a big deal to the average teacher. That is exactly why Republicans have been raising teacher pay year in and year out for the last five or six years. Yet Cooper is attempting to sell voters the myth that he is not the one obstructing budget priorities in North Carolina in favor of partisan positioning.