by Sam Hieb
Forbes’ Patrick Gleason on North Carolina’s budget standoff over Medicaid expansion:
Lawmakers in North Carolina, named by CNBC last week as the nation’s best economy, and Governor Roy Cooper (D) will return to Raleigh next week to see if they can work out a budget deal more than two weeks after the new fiscal year began. Governor Cooper’s initial budget proposal spends about $500 million more over the next two years than does the $24 billion general fund budget approved by both chambers of the General Assembly in June. The General Assembly’s budget won praise from conservatives and a veto from Governor Cooper.
“By restraining spending growth to an average of 3.5% over the two-year budget (within the growth of population and inflation) North Carolinians get to keep more of their money and enjoy the freedom to spend it as they wish,” writes Becki Gray, senior vice president at the John Locke Foundation, about the budget approved by the General Assembly and vetoed by Governor Cooper. In addition to keeping the rate of growth in state spending on a sustainable trajectory, Gray applauds the way the budget passed by the General Assembly replenishes the state’s rainy day fund.
Gleason goes on to share the cautionary tale of Ohio’s Medicaid expansion under then-Gov. John Kasich (a darling among Never Trumpers btw). According to Gleason, “Medicaid costs in Ohio rose 35% from $18.9 billion in fiscal year 2013, the beginning of Kasich’s second term as governor, to $25.7 billion in 2017, when Kasich left office.”
Stay tuned–this is indeed a battle for the ages.