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As stated by NC House District 32 Representative Terry Garrison in his recent newsletter message:
Passing a biennium budget during a long session and odd year of the North Carolina General Assembly is the most important work that this legislative body will do while in session. During this 2019-2020 session of the General Assembly, both chambers of the NC House and NC Senate passed its version of a biennium budget in June.
The two budget versions had differences which then required them to be referred to a Conference Committee to develop a consensus budget. A consensus budget was completed and approved largely along political party lines. As Republicans hold majority memberships in both the House and Senate, they also largely comprised the Consensus Committee. As a result, the Consensus Bill, HB 966, 2019 Appropriations Act was also approved along political party lines, on June 27, 2019.
HB 966 (Appropriations Act) did not include Medicaid Expansion which was the number one budget priority for Democratic Governor Roy Cooper and the Democratic Party. Additionally, the conference budget did not allow citizens a choice on deciding whether to invest in a bond for much-needed school construction as desired by the Governor.
Further, the conference budget provides an average of 3.8% teacher pay increase as opposed to 9.1% sought by the Governor; gives all state employees a $1,000 raise as opposed to 2% or $800 raise, whichever is greater; and provides a 1% cost of living increase for state retirees as opposed to a 2% cost of living increase sought by the Governor.
A few differences between the conference committee and the Governor’s budget are shared here, but there a number of other differences between the two budgets which were objected to by Democrats in both the House and Senate as well as the Governor.
The Republicans included a number of perks within the conference bill which mainly benefited their constituents.
The relocation of the headquarters of the NC Department of Health and Human Services to Granville County was included in the conference budget by the Senate without any special conditions. However, the House changed the relocation to the Triangle North Granville Business and Industrial site in Oxford on condition of my commitment to override the Governor’s veto of the budget. While I fully support the relocation of DHHS to Granville County, and particularly to the Triangle North Granville site, I cannot in good conscience vote to override the Governor’s veto.
Governor Cooper vetoed HB 966 as expected. The state is currently operating under a continuing budget resolution, or more specifically, operating under the 2018 budget until a new biennium budget is passed. A vote on the override of the Governor’s veto is pending and has not occurred as of this time. If an override of the Governor’s veto of budget does not occur, then the budget will have to be renegotiated until a consensus budget can be achieved.
It is my plan to continue seeking relocation of DHHS to Granville County, and particularly to the Triangle North site. While the Governor is leaning toward a study bill for the relocation of DHHS, I am optimistic that Granville County will remain the target site for consideration of such project relocation.
Further, it is my goal to advocate for more jobs and related initiatives promoted by the state within Granville, Vance and Warren Counties within this upcoming biennium.
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