Flanked by educators, Governor Roy Cooper announced Friday his intention to veto four bills passed by the Republican controlled legislature. Cooper said it is time for a meaningful raise for North Carolina’s teachers.
The governor, who wants lawmakers to return to the negotiating table, favors a compromise that would mean 8.5% raise for teachers over two years. The current Republican proposal would amount to a 2.0% raise in 2019-20 and 1.8% in 2020-2021.
“These mini-budgets do not value our teachers,” said Cooper in a press conference at the Executive Mansion.
The governor also offered strong words in rejecting the General Assembly’s proposal to further cut a franchise tax for businesses.
Here’s a closer look at which bills earned the veto stamp followed by Gov. Cooper’s explanation of why:
H231 UNC System & Community College Pay:
“The General Assembly shortchanges our universities and community colleges and their employees, as well as state retirees, despite a robust economy and decent raises for other state employees. Higher education is North Carolina’s best economic development tool, and we must invest in education to keep it that way.”
S354 Strengthening Educator Pay Act:
“The General Assembly continues to shortchange teachers and non-certified school personnel like cafeteria workers, bus drivers and teacher assistants, despite a robust economy and decent raises for other state employees. Educators deserve more if our schools are to remain competitive with other states and keep good teachers.”
H398 Information Technology Budget:
“This legislation fails to adequately fund state cybersecurity and data analytics needs while sending a substantial capital earmark outside the state’s proven university system.”
S578 Reduce Franchise Tax:
“This legislation prioritizes corporate tax cuts over investments in education and would further erode state revenue at the same time the General Assembly is underinvesting in schools. Cutting taxes for corporations at more than $1 billion over five years will hurt North Carolina’s future.”
Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger was quick to respond on Twitter to the governor’s call to return to the negotiating table:
…and he chose today to give teachers nothing for the next two years.
Governor Cooper uses teachers as pawns, blocking their pay increases then trying to convince them it's all the Republicans' fault. At some point, they'll see his cynical ploy for what it really is. #ncpol
— Senator Phil Berger (@SenatorBerger) November 8, 2019
Members of the North Carolina House and Senate return to Raleigh next Wednesday.