by Brenée Goforth
Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
This week, political analyst John Hood wrote a commentary in Carolina Journal on the current budget impasse. Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the General Assembly’s budget proposal last month, so, until a resolution gets passed, some services will go unfunded. They include:
One-time needs, additional funds for enrollment growth, appropriations needed to draw down federal funds, new initiatives such as converting North Carolina’s Medicaid program to a managed-care system, and, perhaps most significantly, pay raises for public employees.
In order to address some of the more urgent items, the House has passed House Bill 111, which would provide funding for some of these needs, including enrollment growth and Medicaid reform. Hood posits that this bill will likely make it through the Senate and he imagines it will receive the governor’s signature. Vetoing the bill would likely not work out in Cooper’s favor, Hood explains:
The general lack of panic here is not to Cooper’s advantage. Recurring funds are already in place for 2019-20. If he vetoes every supplemental bill the General Assembly sends to him — to fund new students, key initiatives, and potential pay increases — Cooper will clearly reveal himself to be the obstructionist in the story.
Hood believes the legislature and the governor can solve the budget impasse, but not without compromise. Hood writes:
There is a path out of this thicket, I think. It will require both sides to change course a bit, as is usually the case. Cooper will have to find a face-saving way to withdraw his ultimatum on Medicaid expansion. Perhaps the fact that an expansion bill already passed a House committee could be part of a declaration of partial victory. For their part, legislative leaders will have to budge on overall expenditures as well as specific line-items. But they already know that.