State legislature passes budget, governor vetoes
Weeks of budget negotiations in Raleigh culminated this week in the passage of a compromise budget by the General Assembly.
The budget passed by the House and Senate includes provisions that would bring funds to Greene, Jones and Lenoir counties for various projects. Statewide, it would provide a 3.9% raise for teachers and a 5% raise for most state employees. It also includes $4.4 billion for school construction and repairs over ten years.
It did not include the Medicaid expansion which was a major policy goal for Gov. Cooper. Cooper signaled his opposition to the budget soon after its passage on Thursday, and officially vetoed the budget on Friday.
His veto message read: “This is a bad budget with the wrong priorities. We should be investing in public schools, teacher pay and health care instead of more tax breaks for corporations.”
The final version of the budget received three Democratic votes, passing on a 66-51 vote, short of the three-fifths majority that would be needed to override the governor’s veto. In the Senate, the vote was 33-15 in favor, with four Democrats voting for the budget.
Sen. Don Davis (D-Greene) was one of the Democratic votes for the budget, while Sens. Jim Perry (R-Lenoir) and Harry Brown (R-Onslow) also voted in favor. In the House, local representatives Chris Humphrey (R-Lenoir), John Bell (R-Wayne) and Pat McElraft (R-Carteret) all voted for the compromise budget.
Budget Items of Interest for Greene County:
$12 million - State capital infrastructure funding for Greene County (over ten years)
$5,000 - Greene County Interfaith Volunteers, Inc. Food Pantry
$25,000 - Greene County Health Department
$25,000 - Economic Development Grant to the Town of Snow Hill
$20,000 - Economic Development Grant to the Town of Walstonburg
$20,000 - Greene County Arts and Historical Society
$20,000 - Parks & Recreation Grant to the Town of Hookerton
$10,000 - Greene County Improvement Association
Budget Items of Interest for Lenoir County
$53,000 - Ditch Clean Out project for Lenoir County
$150,000 - Lenoir County Public Schools repairs and renovations
$550,000 - Lenoir County Courthouse renovations
$11.8 million - State capital infrastructure funding for Lenoir Community College (over ten years)
$14 million - State capital infrastructure funding for Lenoir County Public Schools (over ten years)
$658,000 - Global Transpark structural improvements
$126,000 - Lenoir County flood mitigation
Budget Items of Interest for Jones County
$250,000 - Jones County Courthouse repairs
$10.4 million - State capital infrastructure funding for Jones County Schools (over ten years)
Though these items were included in the version of the budget that passed the General Assembly, Gov. Cooper’s veto means none of them are certain. The coming weeks will see the legislature and the governor try to come to a compromise both can agree to.