Raleigh, N.C. — Gov. Roy Cooper says he'll urge lawmakers of both parties to vote against the final budget compromise unveiled late Monday night. But he stopped short of promising to veto it.
In a hastily called news conference Tuesday, Cooper pronounced the measure "the most fiscally irresponsible budget I've ever seen."
The governor pointed out that, although the compromise spends $130 million more than either the House or the Senate plans, it actually spends less on teacher pay than either one originally did.
He also noted that it contains no additional funding for classroom supplies, leaves thousands on the waiting list for pre-kindergarten and doesn't include any investment in broadband infrastructure, adding that lawmakers "spent $130 million on a lot of projects in a lot of people's districts."
Cooper warned that the corporate and individual tax rate cuts included in the plan "will blow a major hole in our budget just a few years down the road, handcuffing our ability to invest in education and the economy."
"This budget prioritizes tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations and shortchanges education and economic development," he said. "That is a demonstration of priorities that are out of line."
Asked if he would veto it, Cooper hesitated.
"If this budget does pass," he replied, "I'll let you know as soon as it hits my desk. But as you can see right now, I think this budget is wrong for North Carolina."