During his July 4 trip to Mount Olive, House Speaker Tim Moore was optimistic he had the votes needed to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s budget veto.
However, Monday’s vote failed to materialize, as did one on Tuesday, leading House Majority Leader John Bell of Goldsboro to say there might not be a state budget if a compromise cannot be reached.
No budget means Wayne County will not receive $36.4 million in grants for local projects, including $19 million for school construction and $5.5 for a sewer plant improvement project in Mount Olive.
Even without a formal budget, the state will continue to function, Bell said.
About three years ago, the budget bill included a provision that if there was a budget stalemate, the state will continue operating under the current budget, he said.
“That is why we have not had a government shutdown and won’t have a government shutdown because the state will continue to fund under the 2018-19 budget,” Bell said. “Any of the non-recurring dollars will stop. Any of the new projects in this budget, of course, will not happen.
“The pay raises, the COLAs (cost-of-living adjustments), the teacher salary increases would not happen. What we would do if we could not come to agreement, the governor continues to play the game of Medicaid expansion, we will more than likely will passa bill that will have the federal matching funding that we will need and then basically we will be in a stalemate, but the state will continue to run and be funded.”
Bell said he spent Monday night and most of Tuesday before the 2 p.m. session talking with House members on both sides of the aisle trying to work out a compromise.
“We didn’t vote yesterday, we are still trying to work some things out,” Bell said. “Then last night I was disappointed to learn that Rep. Raymond Smith will not be supporting us and the projects that we have at the local level. So we are working with other members and trying to address their concerns. We want to put together a budget for the state of North Carolina; the citizens expect that.
“The governor released his budget proposal today (Tuesday) at 10 o’clock, which frankly was ridiculous. It hurt our state employees. It added $8 billion to the state budget because he is pushing his Medicaid expansion or nothing. It was just disappointing because we were honestly trying to work with the governor’s office, his team. We tried to work with our colleagues from across the aisle.”
Smith was not available for comment Tuesday.
Cooper is holding the state hostage over a political agenda, Bell said.
“It’s hard to compromise when somebody won’t compromise,” he said. “Everything is still in the air. What he was talking about was the projects that he put in his budget; some of the other projects would not make it. He showed that by not including the Health and Human Services move to Granville County. He did not include that in his proposal.
“This is where we are, negotiating and working and trying to look at all different options. That has what we have been doing since early this morning and late last night doing what we can do to try and find a solution.”
The override vote will be on the agenda again Wednesday, Bell said.