‘I will fight to fix its mistakes’: N.C. Gov. Cooper says he will sign state budget despite ‘missed opportunities’

During a news conference Tuesday, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced that he will sign the final budget presented by state Republicans, despite what he called “missed opportunities and misguided policy”. 

“I will sign this budget because, on balance, the good outweighs the bad,” Gov. Cooper said. “It moves North Carolina forward in important ways, many that are critical to our state’s progress as we are emerging from this pandemic”.

  • For months, Legislative Republicans and Gov. Cooper have been negotiating over the budget in an attempt to forestall another stalemate.
  • The proposed final budget features several good measures such as expanding high-speed internet, funding for HBCUs, universities, and community colleges, supporting small businesses, strengthening the state’s infrastructure, funding to help Western North Carolina recover from Tropical Storm Fred, and more.
  • Yet, Republicans once again failed to invest in many critical issues such as extending healthcare to hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians through Medicaid expansion, fully funding our public schools in accordance with Leandro, while choosing to push power grab measures and tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy few.
  • “By signing this budget, I want to make it clear I do not consent to the constitutionality of these provisions,” Gov. Cooper said. “Our schools, communities, small businesses, and families need our help right now, especially as we recover from this pandemic. I will sign this budget because of its critical and necessary investments and I will fight to fix its mistakes”.

The long-awaited state budget proposal comes during a time in which many North Carolinians desperately need help. Despite its shortcomings, the state budget is just one of many tools for our state to address the several important issues facing our communities.

Bottom Line:

The final state budget proposal takes a first step towards providing funding that will help many recover from this pandemic while shining light on what gaps still remain and long-standing unmet needs must be fixed. 

If anything else, the state budget leaves room for real action our lawmakers need to commit to in order to ensure an equitable future for all North Carolinians. 

Alanna Joyner

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