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NC Gov. Roy Cooper Vetoes State Budget

The North Carolina legislative office building

Governor Roy Cooper called a Republican-backed state spending plan a failure on Friday morning, as he stated his intentions to veto the budget, while again calling on legislators to expand Medicaid.Cooper has signaled for months that he would not give approval to the state budget were it not to include some plan to deal with the medical coverage gap or invest significantly more in education. Standing in front of dozens of lawmakers, advocates and supporters, the Democrat called the budget a failure on Friday morning at the Executive Mansion.

“This budget is an astonishing failure of common sense and common decency,” said Cooper about vetoing his third consecutive state budget. “By the measures that matter to me, this budget fails. Therefore I must veto it.

Cooper is emboldened largely because he no longer faces veto-proof supermajorities at the General Assembly.

Senate leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) responded to Cooper’s announced veto Friday morning at the legislature. Berger expressed frustration with the Governor over what he said was a lack of true engagement over a negotiation. Berger remains opposed to Medicaid, despite some support from his conservative counterparts in the Senate as well as the House.

“I think it’s a bad policy for the state of North Carolina … for a number of reasons … not the least of which [is] it could blow a hole in our budget if the federal government doesn’t maintain its end of the bargain,” Berger said.

Berger also said Cooper has asked for Medicaid to be part of the budget conversation, and asserted it now is.

The fiscal year concludes on Sunday, however, North Carolina does not face a budget shutdown. State law will trigger an indefinite automatic continuing resolution for recurring expendiures.

Jeff Tiberii covers politics for WUNC. Before that, he served as the station's Greensboro Bureau Chief.
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