Gov. Roy Cooper

Gov. Roy Cooper tells a crowd gathered outside of King Street’s Appalachian Theatre about how grateful he is to be in the High Country on Aug. 4, 2017.

RALEIGH — Calling it a “bad budget with the wrong priorities,” Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the Republican-backed N.C. General Assembly’s $24 billion biennium budget for 2019-20 and 2020-21.

“I am vetoing this budget because it prioritizes the wrong things. It values corporate tax breaks over classrooms, gimmicks over guaranteed school construction and political ideology over people,” Cooper stated in a June 28 statement.

Cooper’s veto came a day after the N.C. Senate (33-15) and N.C. House (64-49) passed the budget, mostly along party lines.

NCGA House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Kings Mountain) called the veto a “reckless and irresponsible decision” and Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Dunn) claimed the veto was so Cooper “can brag to his far-left base that he vetoed the budget over Medicaid expansion.”

Medicaid expansion has been one of Cooper’s priorities.

“Our neighbors, our friends, our farmers, our child care teachers, our small business owners, our brothers and sisters in the grips of opioid addiction — these are the people in the health care coverage gap,” Cooper stated. “But 2,305 days ago, the legislature slammed the door on expanding Medicaid in North Carolina. Every day that count gets higher is a lost opportunity to help our state.”

A veto override vote is currently scheduled for July 8 in the N.C. House. A veto override would require a 60 percent vote in both the state House and Senate to sustain.

Cooper vetoed the Republican-crafted state budgets in 2017 and 2018, but his veto was overridden by the supermajority both times. But this year, Democrats have enough seats in both houses of the state legislature to block a veto override.

According to state law, state government-funded agencies will remain open even if no appropriations act for the current fiscal year is enacted. The funding for state agencies will be allocated based on the previous fiscal year’s model.

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