The budget swing votes

Posted June 29, 2012

— Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat, has vetoed the $20.2 billion budget that the Republican-led General Assembly sent her earlier this month. At a news conference earlier today, Perdue said she was sending back the bill because lawmakers had refused to compromise with her. 

GOP leaders say Perdue's budget veto risks a variety of consequences if lawmakers are unable to override her objections.

Republicans in the Senate will have little trouble mustering the three-fifths vote they need to override Perdue. The GOP holds 31 of 50 state Senate seats.

In the House, Republicans hold 68 seats, four short of the 72 they needed to override a veto if all members are present and voting. Last year, five Democrats sided with Republicans to override Perdue's  budget veto. This year, four of those five plus Rep. Marian McLawhorn, D-Pitt, voted to send the compromise House-Senate budget to Perdue's desk. (The fifth member of last year's gang of five was absent. See below.) When the anticipated veto override vote comes Monday, those six members will be in the spotlight.

  • McLawhorn has said she does not know how she'll vote on an override and hopes that Perdue and legislative Republicans can reach a deal.
  • Rep. Dewey Hill, D-Columbus, said Friday he'll vote to override Perdue, although indicated Thursday that he may not. 
  • Rep. Jim Crawford, D-Granville, is a full budget chairman in the House but says he'll be listening to both sides debate before making up his mind on an override.
  • Rep. Bill Owens's voice mail was full on Friday morning. However, the Pasquotank Democrat has said that Republican backing for a video sweepstakes bill could be vital in securing his vote for the budget. That bill has not moved out of the House Finance Committee. 
  • Rep. William Brisson, D-Bladen, could not be reached Friday morning, but has indicated previously he would vote to override and told the same thing to the News & Observer in a story published today. Update: Brisson confirmed Friday afternoon he would vote to override Perdue's veto. "I still support the budget," he said, adding, "It's the best we can get." 
  • Rep. Timothy Spear, D-Washington, is dealing with the recent death of his father and his mother's severe illness. He has been understandably absent from the legislature in recent days and it's unclear whether either side could count on his vote. He was not present to vote for the budget compromise, but did back the budget bill the House sent the Senate. 

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