North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper answered the question about what he would do with the budget coming to him in a lot of little packages instead of one big one.
Cooper signed four bills that had to do with wage increases for law enforcement and state employees and vetoed the bill that would change the way the state paid for Medicaid.
Signing the raises for state employees makes sense because these were raises that Cooper and the legislature both had in their respective budgets. It would have been tough for Cooper to justify vetoing raises for state employees when he had already recommended the same raises. It also would not have been a good move politically. State employees had expected the raises to start at the beginning of the fiscal year on July 1 and these raises are retroactive to July 1.
What’s holding up getting the entire budget passed is Medicaid expansion. Cooper is demanding that Medicaid expansion be a part of the budget and the Republicans who control the House and the Senate have offered to hold a special session on Medicaid expansion, but refuse to include it in the budget.
Cooper says there is no ultimatum on Medicaid expansion, but Speaker Pro Tem of the Senate Phil Berger says that every time they get behind closed doors to try and work out a budget compromise Cooper says they have to settle the Medicaid expansion issue first.
The bill that Cooper vetoed was a bill that passed with bipartisan support to control spending on the current Medicaid program by changing the way the state pays for Medicaid.
Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell) said, “Medicaid transformation was a bipartisan effort to control the growth and costs of Medicaid and focus on improving the health of recipients. The governor’s veto puts us back on an unsustainable path that is bad for doctors and bad for patients. With this decision it appears he has slammed the door shut on improvements or modifications to the Medicaid system.”
About Coopers’ action vetoing one bill and signing four, Hise said, “The governor’s inconsistent response to these bills is flat out confusing.”