Monday, July 11, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed the $27.9 billion 2022-2023 budget passed by the legislature.

Cooper had until Monday night to sign or veto the budget, because if Cooper took no action the budget would have become law without his signature 10 days after it was passed by the legislature.

In some states, having a budget is not big news.  But in 2019, Cooper vetoed the budget and the legislature and Cooper were never able to reach an agreement.  The result of that impasse was that the state used the base budget passed in 2017 and passed a number of “mini-budget bills” that Cooper did sign.

However, many allocations that were in the 2019 budget passed by the legislature were never made.

In odd years the state passes a biennial budget and in even years makes adjustments to that base budget. In 2021, Cooper signed the budget and has now signed the 2022 budget despite the fact that neither budget included Medicaid expansion, which was one of Cooper’s reasons for vetoing the 2019 budget.

Speaker of the state House Rep. Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) and President Pro Tem of the state Senate Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) released a joint statement Monday after Cooper signed the state budget stating, “The General Assembly passed the 2022 budget with strong bipartisan support, and we are pleased Governor Cooper signed this responsible spending plan into law.  Moving forward, we are committed to working together to improve healthcare access and expand Medicaid, while providing the necessary safeguards to preserve the state’s fiscal strength.  Active negotiations are occurring now toward that end.”

The state House and Senate have each passed bills to expand Medicaid but have not yet reached agreement on a Medicaid expansion bill that will garner enough votes to pass both the House and the Senate.

The state budget includes a 3.5 percent raise for state employees and a 4.2 percent raise for teachers.