Gov. Bev Perdue is on her way out to CA today on a trade trip, but her spokeswoman Chrissy Pearson came by the press room this afternoon to offer a response to today’s dueling override attempts.
“Her reaction was that the new brouhaha over Senate Bill 13 was purely a distraction from the fact they didn’t have the votes to override the veto of House Bill 2. I believe once you started digging into the arguments that the Senate made, it became clear that they weren’t exactly sure what they were talking about,” Pearson said. “This was a show. This was distraction.”
Republicans said today the governor’s move to borrow $100 million in unemployment funds to manage the state’s cash flow is unconstitutional, and could delay tax refunds if the state is sued over it. They claim S13 would let her use other funds that wouldn’t put the state at risk for a lawsuit.
The S13 veto override whizzed through the Senate, where Republicans control 31 seats. But House Republicans say they don't have the votes to finish the override.
Pearson pointed out that shifting money around to cover cash-flow needs is something both Republican and Democratic governors have done in the past. “It’s absolutely constitutional, it’s absolutely legal.”
“The key here is that we’re borrowing that money,” she added. “That money will be paid back within this fiscal year with interest. I believe that does away with any of the legal questions about it.”
Word came this afternoon that Controller David McCoy has concerns about the unemployment fund, too. Pearson said if questions arise about funds they’re borrowing from, Perdue will take them off the list. “Here’s what’s important: 300,000 North Carolinians will have checks in their mailboxes by next week. What I see in the General Assembly is nothing but wasting time, creating distractions, no checks going out in the mail.”
Pearson called the failed override attempt on House Bill 2, the anti-HCR mandate bill, “ridiculous” and “time-wasting.”
“It unfortunately was top of the Republicans’ agenda. We’re still scratching our heads about that. On top of the Governor’ agenda is jobs and education. She will continue to wield the veto stamp if she feels a bill doesn’t make sense for North Carolina.”
Does this mean we’ll see a lot more vetoes in the coming weeks? Pearson says she hopes not, adding that Perdue is currently working with Republicans on charter school reform and government consolidation.
“The governor has said many times she would much rather sign a reasonable piece of legislation than veto something that is silly and a waste of time like House Bill 2 was,” Pearson said. “We are hopeful that, working together when we’re able to, we’ll have more of those signatures and less of those vetoes.”
Watch the video of Pearson's comments here. Pearson on veto votes