Governor’s refusal to sign budget hurts our citizens

Published 7:31 pm Tuesday, August 6, 2019

To the Editor:

It has been over a month since Governor Roy Cooper vetoed the bipartisan $24 billion state budget because it does not include his demands for the expansion of government-run Medicaid in North Carolina.

I don’t think it is fair to our citizens to hold the entire budget hostage over any single issue. There is simply too much at stake – especially for rural communities in coastal Eastern North Carolina.

In the end, the Governor is using the many good things in the budget as leverage to force his personal agenda. We worked hard to craft a responsible budget that addresses the critical needs of the people of North Carolina.

This budget further invests in education, increases teacher and state employee salaries, funds a new statewide school construction initiative and allocates much-needed disaster recovery resources. It also commits hundreds of millions of dollars to improving education campuses in North Carolina, enhancing school safety and lowering tuition costs through NC Promise.

I am especially proud of the fact that the budget includes several key provisions that I secured for House District 1, including:

Washington County: $10,703,586 for public school construction; $25,000 for Vanguard Educational Institute’ STEM camp in Plymouth; $50,000 for playground restoration.

Camden County: $10,666,626 for public school construction; $50,000 for a boat ramp.

Chowan County: $10,729,020 for public school construction; $66,000 for Taylor Theater Marquette.

Tyrell County: $10,313,374 35 for public school construction; $45,000 grant to Town of Columbia for economic development.

Bertie County:$11,234,254 for public school construction;

$78,000 grant for flood control project.

Perquimans County: $10,472,554 for public school construction.

Overall, the budget also continues North Carolina’s successful pro-growth policies of less taxes, fewer regulations and responsible spending, which have led to record jobs, low unemployment and historic savings.

Due to the significant raises for state employees, the State Employees Association of North Carolina (SEANC) is actively urging lawmakers to support the budget compromise. Other priorities include expanding rural broadband, addressing rape kit backlog, combating the opioid crisis, and more.

The budget also includes a special provision allowing the Governor to call the legislature back into a special session to specifically address health care issues, including his top priority of Medicaid expansion.

The people of North Carolina deserve an honest and transparent debate on Medicaid expansion. The Governor should welcome this opportunity to work together to come up with a solution – and stop blocking these critical resources for our state.

I cannot tell you how this will play out. The governor has gone all-in with his demand that we expand Medicaid now – with no study of the cost or even a well-thought out plan for implementing an expansion. The budget from last year can continue with the state operating at the funding levels it contains. But, tell that to the state employees. Tell that to teachers.

I am working hard for you and will continue to do so. Please don’t hesitate to call me at 919-733-0010 if I can be of service to you.

Rep. Edward Goodwin

NC House District 1