Governor Roy Cooper’s proposed budget for the current fiscal year ending June 30, 2021, released late last week, months late in presentation, indicates that he’s more interested in pandering for votes in the upcoming November election against Republican candidate Dan Forest than in creating a financial plan to improve the state’s economy for the benefit of all residents.

The governor’s budget has numerous major flaws but five demand attention and rejection by both N.C. voters and the state legislature which will formally review the budget when it convenes in September.

Governor Cooper has obviously decided that it is both economically and politically expedient to increase spending in the face of declining business activity and subsequent reduced tax revenues; eliminate services to low income families; increase the state’s debt; continue financing business bribes for businesses to locate in the state; and to single out one group of state employees for one-time bonuses.

Brian Balfour, Executive Vice President of the Civitas Institute notes that Cooper’s total proposed General Fund spending comes in at $25.04 billion, which according to the state controller’s office is $1 billion more than last year and $1.4 billion over fiscal year 2018-19. Cooper’s proposed budget will also decimate the state’s estimated tax surplus that the legislature has been nursing in case the state’s revenues fail to rebound due continued economic stress of the pandemic or delayed recovery due to other circumstances.

And while the governor focuses on spending all the money in the state’s bank account he proposes to add over $5 billion in additional debt on the state with a $4.3 billion bond for schools and a $988 million health care infrastructure bond that will not require voter approval.

His budget proposal doesn’t shy from spreading his largess to the teachers’ union and big business while the majority of the state’s taxpayers continue to feel the impact of reduced incomes due to the continued closures mandated by the governor.

In the case of big business the governor has found $18 million of additional funding for the One NC Fund. Mr. Balfour notes that this special fund managed by the state’s commerce department “directs taxpayer dollars to politically-selected corporations while thousands of small businesses face bankruptcy due to Cooper’s shut-down order.”

In addition to pandering to big businesses, Cooper’s proposed budget targets one group that has continued to support his election and the Democrat party- the state’s teachers’ union, the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE).

His support for NCAE is seen with the several budgetary actions. The governor’s budget eliminates the Opportunity Scholarship program, funded by the legislature through the state’s general fund, which provides up to $4,200 tuition support annually for low income families seeking better educational opportunities for their children. To date over 20,000 students from low income conditions have been given the opportunity to attend the private school of their choice, an opportunity that is normally available only to well-to-do families.

Earlier this year, the current NCAE president was so fearful of giving students and families a choice that she initiated a lawsuit to stop the scholarship program.

But Cooper’s efforts to garner support of the NCAE goes even further to include one-time bonuses. For teachers he proposes a $2000 bonus amounting to $230 million; $1,000 one-time bonus for non-certified school personnel amounting to $50 million; and $1,500 one-time bonus for community college personnel totaling $80 million. All told this is $360 million in bonuses.

We appreciate the work that these educators are doing but considering the loss of jobs created by the governor’s mandates that he initiated to “bend the curve” of hospitalization caused by the pandemic, a goal that was reached months ago, we have to question his concern for the rest of the state. Hundreds of thousands of employees and business owners are struggling with reduced incomes or no incomes and are reliant on government unemployment funds which are quickly diminishing due to continued business stagnation.

Considering the governor’s dismissal of the challenges the state and its residents are facing, his proposed budget, which coincidentally is being presented only two months from election day, indicates that he is both tone deaf to the concerns of the taxpayers and residents, and instead totally focused on his political career.

The legislature and voters should see Cooper’s budget proposal for what it is, a document to garner votes, not a financial game plan to stabilize and improve North Carolina’s economy.

(28) comments

Sleepwalker

Elections have consequences

David Collins

Those that voted for him last time have had a taste of what will come if re-elected . By the way , just how does it taste now ?

mpjeep

It taste like Cow Dung and I'm ready for a change of Menu.

drewski

And yet if the same actions had been taken by a gop governor it would all be applause from the ccp. Logically teachers are a tiny fraction of the electorate, so vote buying with teacher raises seems a stretch

.low income vouchers, or vouchers in general is a darling of the right. Every public dollar should be spent at public schools. You want your kid to go to private school, great you pay for it! Stop taking money away from our public schools, and perhaps you won't need bonds for stand alone gyms? I hope the govenor is reelected and can get shed of dan forrest. Polls seem to indicate most of the state agrees .

sick and tired

I thought I read in the comments here that there wasn't a teachers union in NC? I am probably mistaken, wouldn't be the first time.

Anyway, all this money is just play money to these politicians. It's not coming out of their pocket but you can best believe it sure is padding their pockets. I don't know how they spend so much money. The lion share of property tax bills go to "County General At a "Rate" of 0.3300" of that amount 18.31 "pennies on the tax rate" go to "education" Note: Education includes Carteret county Schools and Carteret County Community College operation, capital, and debt service expenditures. I got that straight of my newly increased tax bill. The next closest "pennies on the tax rate" is 5.19 for public safety.

That is a huge amount they are spending our tax dollars on education than anything else and that is only from our property taxes! How do they spend all that money with NOTHING to show for it.

mpjeep

I don't think it is a union, but a professional advocacy organization. Teachers don't have a collective bargaining unit, but do apply a lot of pressure on government.

100,000 teachers in NC and if they have really larger family members on their side, could be a lot of votes.

Average teacher pay in NC is $54,000 per 9-10 months of work, plus great benefits.

mpjeep

Cooper’s proposed 2020-21 budget plan would increase General Fund spending by nearly $1 billion. It would spend down much of the state’s cash reserve.

Why not budget conservatively and then adjust if conditions improve? Oh, did I say “budget conservatively” for a liberal governor?

David Collins

It is not just money for teachers , it is $1,000 for Non Certified Personnel . That is rather vague but I’ll bet that is one heck of a lot of folks . Devil is in the details .

Private schools are for those that can afford them . Parents that want their children to get a real balanced education away from the distractions and dogma that plague the public school system . By balanced I am speaking about things that matter in life leading to actually learning about things that will lead to success in their lifetime endeavors .

dc

He's been trying to spend every penny of the rainy day fund since before being elected. Not hard to understand why.

Sleepwalker

Ski...i agree about taxes for school budget should stay for public schools.

Osprey

Not a big fan of Cooper or any democrat for that matter. That said he is no worse than McCrory. McCrory took away many small tax breaks for common folks while helping his pals in big business. One example most don't know is the small deduction for volunteer fire fighters/first responders. Why would anyone for the people take away a small tax break for volunteers ?

mpjeep

Unfortunately, NC Voters haven't really given many conservatives a shot at being governor.

Osprey, I hope you did agree with McCrory signing the bathroom law based on biological sex?

And he did lower the personal income tax rate in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Let's give Dan Forest a chance!

Osprey

I do agree with the transgender sex law but not so much about the taxes, my rate was lower but ended up paying more with McCrory due to his cutting deductions for those of us in the ever shrinking working middle class. I was Forest supporter until he decided to waste our money on a futile lawsuit.

mpjeep

For the first time, I think, I agree with you drew on money should stay with public schools. If you want to opt for Private schools then step up to the plate and pay 100% of it,

Cooper "get your knee off our necks". I doubt you will agree with this, drew. [rolleyes]

drewski

What many people don't seem to understand is this : The left wing, and the right wing belong to the same bird.

mpjeep

Funny, drew! I'll use that sentence with my friends.

Sleepwalker

30 years ago or so I was in an audience listening to a very powerful lobbyist speak. Capital hill type. Of all the things he said, the one thought that stuck with me was “we can’t tell the difference between the dems and repubs these days...they flip flop so often and almost never keep their promises...we donate heavily to both sides”.

mpjeep

LOL No that is so true, sleep. Thanks for sharing.

dc

What some don't want to accept is the left wing has turned into something unrecognizeable in this country & looks somewhat like third world socialism. It's taken some of the R establishment with it. The remainder of the Rs have the intelligence to accept something new like putting America first while making & keeping promises to minorities heretofore broken.

(Edited by staff.)

Sleepwalker

Biden is pitiful. Not being ugly. I have had older folks in my family just like him. He has some clinical impairment. It appears the dems have rolled the dice hoping he can get elected off of past appeal and then move in with radicals that will look nothing like the dem party of the past. Marxist, socialism...whatever you want to call it. The result has been in the big cities For decades. Not good.

mpjeep

DNC Recap:

Hear No Riots, See No Riots, Speak No Riots

dc

Exactly. Wonder why they suddenly awakened? Pretty obvious isn't it? You can bet it's always somebody else's fault & they're the ones doing what they're accusing others of. BO got it all going using the Alinksky & any other playbook & help he could muster to keep it going. And, they won't be satisfied until they've destroyed what others have built. Fortunately, more & more are beginning to catch on. What was it he said about bringing a gun to a knife fight? Too bad DJT slowed down his plans. BO & his ilk are far from done but don't count out this president & his supporters.

Sleepwalker

Jeep. That’s some funny stuff there. Unfortunately true.

mpjeep

State Treasurer Dale Folwell wants Raleigh to “get out of the way” of the economy. Folwell is calling on Gov. Roy Cooper to reopen businesses. He warned of dire economic consequences if the “one-size-fits-all” shutdowns continue.

As I said before, Coop only thinks of NC as Raleigh, Charlotte, GBoro and W-S. Things are different in other towns and cities.

Sleepwalker

Lots and lots of folks out of work because of coopers policies. Easy to say everyone needs to sacrifice for the greater cause when “others” are out of work and scraping by...

mpjeep

Hey Coop, Go to the 20+ mile stretch of beach on the crystal coast this holiday weekend.

See how many folks are wearing masks or socially distancing. You Cherry Picker!

CARTERETISCORRUPT

We need to get rid of the RINOs as well. Beaufort has a slew of them. Start with the mayor and throw them all out.

true that

vote all dems out

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