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Gov. Cooper Vetoes State Budget, Calls Decision The 'Right Thing'

Governor Cooper Twitter
Gov. Roy Cooper vetoes the state budget.

Surrounded by educators wearing red, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday his decision to veto the General Assembly’s budget for the next fiscal year.

“This is a budget that needs to be vetoed and I’ve done just that,” Cooper said.

Cooper called his decision the “right thing to do.” He said the General Assembly’s budget overlooked the priorities of “everyday North Carolinians” – priorities like funding public education.

Republicans in the General Assembly didn’t allow for any amendments during the budget process and Democrats argue they were shut out of negotiations.

“Ultimately, it can be summed up like this,” Cooper said. “The Republican legislature’s budget keeps income tax breaks for corporations and families who make over $200,000 a year, instead of investing what this state needs in education.”

The legislature’s education budget fell almost $100 million short of what Cooper wanted. But in addition to education, Cooper pointed to shortfalls in the budget with regards to environmental funding and healthcare.   

But the General Assembly’s budget does go further than Cooper’s in other areas: like raising the minimum wage for state workers, and giving bigger raises to state troopers and correctional officers.

When asked why he would veto the budget instead of compromising with Republican lawmakers, Cooper pointed to the general election.

“It’s important to make this statement,” he said. “It’s important to do the right thing. November is coming.”

House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate Leader Phil Berger said Cooper’s decision was “more about scoring political points” and have announced their intentions to override the governor’s veto.

Jessa O’Connor was an assistant digital news editor and Sunday reporter for WFAE.