2 months into fiscal year, state Republicans say they’re close to presenting plan to Gov. Cooper

Politics

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Republican legislative leaders say they’re closer to reaching an agreement among themselves on a budget plan and could share the details of it with Gov. Roy Cooper (D) as soon as next week. 

The state is more than two months into the fiscal year without a budget agreement, but Republican House Speaker Tim Moore said members of his party have narrowed down the list of issues to resolve. 

“The goal right now is to have a budget finalized in the first or second week of October,” he said. 

While he didn’t give specifics, he said Republicans have come to an agreement on a tax plan and funding for capital projects. They still have not resolved differences on what to pay state employees and policy changes that could potentially be included. 

Moore said legislative leaders will take their plan to Cooper first to see how likely it is he’ll agree to it before releasing the details of it publicly. 

“I would say we should be in a position to get something to the Governor next week,” Moore said. “Give the Governor an opportunity to say whether he would sign it as is or if there are changes that he would like before he would sign it and then to have those negotiations.” 

It’s unclear whether Cooper would support that plan and how much of what Cooper has requested will be included in the Republicans’ budget proposal. 

The two parties never reached an agreement on a spending plan two years ago, prompting Republicans to pass a series of so-called “mini budgets” to fund aspects of the larger budget that weren’t as controversial. 

While in Raleigh for a one-day voting session Wednesday, the House passed a bill aimed at limiting the ability of Attorney General Josh Stein (D) to enter into certain legal settlements.

It follows a decision last year to settle lawsuits brought by Democratic-aligned groups to make various changes to the rules of the 2020 election. Republicans in the General Assembly were not involved in the settlement even though they were parties in the lawsuit. 

“This settlement agreement changed the rules of the game in the middle of an election,” said Rep. Destin Hall (R-Caldwell). “Don’t let it be decided in a scam settlement that changes the election.” 

Nazneen Ahmed, a spokesperson for Stein, echoed concerns Democrats in the House raised about whether the bill is constitutional. 

“Our office is disappointed by the passage of this bill and we continue to believe that this legislation is unwise and unconstitutional,” she said.  

Next week, the House will only hold votes on Thursday, taking up a bill to limit Cooper’s emergency powers. 

Democrats have opposed both, and Cooper is likely to veto them. 

“I feel like we’re just spinning our wheels here at the General Assembly,” said Rep. Julie von Haefen (D-Wake). “There are so many other issues that our constituents want us to be working on, and we’re just kind of sitting around doing things that aren’t very productive. It’s very frustrating.” 

House Republicans also tried to include policy provisions in their previous budget plan limiting the governor and attorney general’s authority. 

When asked why they’re continuing to pursue legislation to do that when the budget remains unresolved, Moore said, “I think it’s important that we make our position known. I think it’s important the issue be talked about.” 

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