Cooper pitches budget fixes GOP unlikely to back


North Carolina Republicans on Tuesday started canceling Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of the state budget, with the Senate overriding the Democratic governor's formal complaints that the two-year spending plan gives too many tax cuts and not enough to public education.

Cooper returned the measure with his veto stamp Tuesday morning to the Senate, where the measure originated.

"And while public education falls by the wayside, it's the wealthy and the corporations that get more and more, through a tax plan that is so irresponsible that it blows a $600 million hole in our budget down the line", said Cooper, reiterating a statement he made last week that he believes "a person earning $1 million or more a year will get a tax break that is 85 times larger than what a working family gets" under the tax plan.

Education spending also would increase by almost $700 million.

GOP legislative leaders have vowed to override the veto, which they have the votes to accomplish if Republicans remain united. Republicans are likely to override the veto because of substantial House and Senate majorities. Last month, Governor Cooper and Secretary Cohen, along with Attorney General Josh Stein, announced a grant to fight the opioid epidemic at SouthLight Healthcare in Raleigh.

"By rejecting our fourth consecutive teacher pay raise - this time totaling 10 percent on average - a major middle-class tax cut, and much-needed Hurricane Matthew relief, Gov. Cooper has broken some of his biggest promises to the voters, and they will hold him accountable".

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Cooper's budget also contained measures to eliminate the pre-K waitlist.

"Our state's growing", cooper said.

Cooper's veto message also sets the stage for a possible legal challenge to the budget's changes to the governor's powers.

Most of those changes will be non-starters with Republican lawmakers, but Cooper said he will continue to urge "fair minded" Republican and Democrats who voted for the budget headed to his desk to do better. His office and fellow Democrats also have complained that the most veteran teachers would get only a $300 raise and $385 annual bonuses.

Senate leader Phil Berger read his letter to Cooper responding to the veto. And the corporate income tax rate would lower from 3 percent to 2.5 percent. Houry said North Carolina has been hit hard, ranking 13th among states with highest rates of death due to drug overdoses.

State Sen. Don Davis, D-Pitt, said the budget was "friendly to eastern North Carolina" and wanted to hear what residents in his district, which encompasses all of Greene and parts of Pitt and Wayne counties, had to say. The other time happened in 2011, when Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue's veto was overridden by Republicans.