This morning, Governor Cooper announced he would veto the budget passed by Republicans in the General Assembly last week, citing concerns about education funding as well as tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy.
“This budget shortchanges our state at a time when we don’t have to,” he said at a press conference. “Rather than matching the dreams and aspirations of our people, this budget is shortsighted and small-minded. It lacks the vision that our state demands at this pivotal time of growth and change.”
The proposed $23 billion budget would raise teacher pay by an average of 3.3 percent and make a series of tax cuts effective in 2019, lowering the corporate income tax rate from 3 to 2.5 percent, reducing the personal income tax rate from 5.499 to 5.25 percent, and decreasing the franchise tax on small businesses. And, as the INDY highlighted last week, would also allocate $2.6 million over the next two fiscal years to Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship, a nonprofit network for crisis pregnancy centers in the state.
Cooper indicated he would support and sign a new budget if it made a few key changes, such as investing more in education and modifying the proposed tax cuts.
“This budget spends one-point-one billion dollars on a tax plan that mostly benefits the wealthy and corporations,” he said. “Millionaires get a tax cut eighty-five times what a working family receives. So for my signature, they should eliminate the corporate tax cut, include the child care tax credits set out in my budget, and cap the income tax cut to those making less than one hundred and fifty thousand dollars per year.”
Cooper’s veto, however, is likely symbolic, as Republicans have supermajorities in both chambers of the General Assembly. Shortly after Cooper’s announcement, Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore issued a joint statement pledging to override the governor’s veto.
Watch the video below for Cooper’s full remarks: