Raleigh, N.C. — With little debate, the state Senate voted Tuesday to override Gov. Roy Cooper's budget veto.
The vote was 34-14, with three of four Democrats who initially voted for the Republican majority's budget backing their governor's veto. The fourth, Sen. Joel Ford, D-Mecklenburg, was absent and did not vote.
The budget heads now to the House, where leadership said it plans to complete the override Wednesday.
Cooper announced his veto Monday but said he was willing to sign the budget if GOP leaders would negotiate on a few key points. He wanted fewer tax cuts for corporations and people in the higher income brackets and more funding for education. One of his bottom line complaints was that, instead of investing more heavily in North Carolina's future, the budget made room for a $1.1 billion tax cut many Democrats have dubbed unsustainable.
Republican leaders said they had met the goals Cooper laid out for the budget at the session's start, partly by including teacher raises and a tax cut for those making less than $20,000 a year. The budget also boosts the state's rainy day fund.
GOP leaders accused Cooper of moving the goal posts and going back on his word. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger responded to the governor's veto letter by reading a letter of his own from the floor.
"I am concerned you would reject these good ideas because they were not your own," Berger, R-Rockingham, said.
"We will keep your promises for you," the letter states.
Asked for response, Cooper spokesman Ford Porter emailed: "Gov. Cooper said he would sign the budget if legislators would target the income tax breaks to middle class families and invest the savings on education and job creation. Unfortunately, legislative Republicans refuse to compromise and insist on a plan that treats the middle-class as second class."