Dueling vetoes

Statehouse Republicans are taking aim today at two vetoes by Gov. Perdue.

Posted Updated

Laura Leslie

House Republicans say they WILL vote today to try to override H2, the anti-healthcare mandate bill.   The caucus is four votes short of an override, and House Democrats say they won't vote against the governor - not even Brisson and Crawford, who voted in favor of H2 when it came through the House.

Meantime, Senate Leader Phil Berger announced today his chamber will override Perdue's February veto of Senate Bill 13, the bill that would have taken money from the Golden Leaf and other economic development funds.  He says the Senate has to override the veto to "protect taxpayer refunds" from Perdue’s "illegal" plan to shuffle money around to cover cash flow needs.

It’s not uncommon for the state to run into cash-flow problems at this time of year as tax refunds go out, for a pretty simple reason: people who are getting refunds tend to file early, while those who owe often wait till the deadline to pay. In the past, Perdue and other governors have managed the problem by borrowing money from other areas in state government, paying it back as tax payments roll in. 

This year, Perdue is planning to borrow $490 million. $100 million of that would come from Employment Security Commission funds that have been set aside to start paying on a federal loan.  

The first payment isn’t due till September, so Perdue would have time to repay the money.  But Berger says state law does not allow her to use that money. If someone files suit over it, taxpayer refunds could be at risk, though Berger couldn't say how serious that risk might be.

Berger wasn't sure whether anyone in his office had contacted Perdue's office about their concerns. 

Senate Bill 109 would require Perdue to hold back the same amount of money as Senate Bill 13 did. But Berger says there's a difference: Senate Bill 13 would allow Perdue to capture tobacco settlement money headed for the Golden Leaf and other funds.  He says that cash would be accessible April 1st, while the money from spending cuts in S109 wouldn't be immediately available to solve the cash-flow problem .  

Senate Republicans are likely to succeed   – they need 30 votes to do so, and they control 31 seats. But it’s unclear what will happen after that. Speaker Thom Tillis says House Republicans do not have enough votes to complete the S13 override. He says he’s hoping the Governor will “release the Democrats” to vote against her veto and allow Senate Bill 13 to become law.

The Governor's office has not yet responded.

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