Ten budget questions for NC Senate President Phil Berger & NC House Speaker Tim Moore at head-in-sand university tour
As the state legislature's GOP leaders visits NC A&T and UNC-Greensboro on Tuesday, the budget standoff continues as GOP leaders deny reality of need to compromise
GREENSBORO -- More than five weeks after Gov. Roy Cooper submitted a compromise budget proposal to Republican leaders with no response, NC Senate President Phil Berger and NC House Speaker Tim Moore are making a pair of public appearances in Greensboro on Tuesday. The stops are a continuation of Speaker Moore’s statewide head-in-sand road show that denies the simple math and reality that Republicans must compromise on the state budget.
Berger and Moore are set to visit NC A&T State University at 9:30am and UNC-Greensboro at 11:00am to speak in support of the GOP budget proposal. What Berger and Moore are unlikely to say, however, is that their budget proposal is dead now that 51 of 55 House Democrats have pledged to sustain Gov. Cooper’s veto, leaving an override impossible. Berger and Moore will spotlight university capital improvement projects, but neither is likely to admit those projects are funded in BOTH the Republican budget proposal AND Gov. Cooper’s compromise budget proposal.
“Capital improvement projects at NC A&T and UNC-G are funded in both the Republican and the Governor’s compromise budget proposals,” said Gerrick Brenner, exec. director of Progress NC Action. “If projects at NC A&T and UNC-G are at risk of not happening, it’s only because Sen. Berger and Speaker Moore are threatening to cancel them if they don’t get their way on every other item in the state budget.”
Instead of negotiating with Democratic leaders for a bipartisan budget that benefits all North Carolinians, Speaker Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger continue to stall and obstruct. With that in mind, here are ten questions Berger and Moore should answer at their appearances on Tuesday:
- Is it true that Gov. Cooper sent you a compromise budget proposal over a month ago that Republicans have refused to meet with the governor to discuss? If it’s not true, when have you met with Gov. Cooper since he offered a compromise budget?
- Is it true that all of the capital improvement projects in the GOP budget - including the two at NC A&T and UNC-Greensboro that you are spotlighting today - are also in Gov. Cooper's compromise budget?
- If both you and the Governor agree that these projects at NC A&T and UNC-G should be funded in the state budget, why are they at risk of not happening? Is it because you refuse to negotiate other items like better funding for public schools and Medicaid expansion?
- 51 out of 55 House Democrats have promised to sustain Gov. Cooper’s budget veto. Even if all four of the remaining Democrats sided with the Republicans, you still don’t have enough votes to override the veto. Why are you still trying to override the veto if there’s no way for you to get enough votes to do so?
- How long are you prepared to hold out before admitting you don’t have the votes and finally sitting down to negotiate with Democrats for a budget that works for everyone?
- School is going to start in a couple of weeks for most students in North Carolina. School districts are being forced to set their fall budgets with no idea how much money they’ll be getting from the state. Teachers are being forced to buy classroom supplies without the pay raises they were promised. Why are you once again making things harder for our schools?
- Over 600,000 North Carolinians would gain affordable health care access from Medicaid expansion. But every year we wait, there are an estimated 1,000 unnecessary deaths because people can’t afford life-saving treatment. How many people have to die before Republicans put people over politics and expand Medicaid?
- Tens of thousands of educators marched in Raleigh on May 1 with five simple requests for lawmakers. The Republican budget does NOT meet any of them. How can you expect teachers to support you if you won’t even listen to them?
- When you adjust for inflation and enrollment, teacher pay and classroom funding are down compared to a decade ago. Politicians had to make a lot of hard budget decisions during the recession, but the recession is over. Why are Republicans forcing our schools to experience a permanent recession by refusing to restore education funding?
- Speaker Moore, you have described Medicaid expansion as “Medicaid for All” when you know full well that Medicaid expansion would bring healthcare only to people making less than 138% of the federal poverty level. Why should the press and public trust your budget claims when your description of Medicaid expansion is so grossly misrepresenting the facts of a key budget policy debate?