This is the time of year for predictions about the upcoming year, and one is that in 2020 the State of North Carolina will finally have a budget.
The state two-year budget for July 2019 through June 2021 was passed by the Republican legislature on June 27 and sent to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper who vetoed it on June 28. The state House overrode that veto on Sept. 11, when many Democrats and some Republicans were not in the chamber.
The state Senate adjourned on Oct. 31 without taking a vote on the veto override.
Cooper, House Speaker Tim Moore and President Pro Tem Sen. Phil Berger didn’t agree on much during the 2019 legislative session, but they did agree that after the veto no meaningful negotiations on a new budget took place.
Cooper said that Moore and Berger refused to negotiate. Moore and Berger said that Cooper had an ultimatum that they had to agree to Medicaid expansion before he would consider signing a budget. Cooper said that there was no ultimatum, but he did repeatedly say that the Medicaid expansion issue had to be settled first.
However, it was said that when the Senate came back into session after the filing for the 2020 election had passed, that the Republicans in the Senate would be joined by at least one Democrat to override the veto.
Republicans said that the Democratic senators had been threatened with a primary opponent if they crossed the line and voted for the veto override. Both times the budget passed the Senate it did so with Democratic votes.
Filing for the 2020 election ended on Dec. 20, and with it the threat of a primary opponent. Since most of the Democrats in the Senate are in safe Democratic districts, they don’t have much to worry about as far as the general election is concerned.
Both state representatives and state senators say it is almost a given that one or more Democrats will go ahead and vote for the budget, or if two Democratic senators are absent and all the Republicans are present they can pass a veto override without any Democratic votes. Either way the prediction is the budget override will pass the Senate in January.