Speaker says Governor Cooper “has taken political positions that put him very much to the left of where I think North Carolina is.”
“I would expect the positions that he has taken, with all due respect, from a governor of New York or California.”
Raleigh, N.C. – The Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) gave an extensive interview this week with radio host Troy Williams of WIDU 99.7 FM in Fayetteville to discuss Gov. Roy Cooper’s “very liberal policy agenda” that is blocking state employee pay raises and capital projects for Cumberland County communities.
Speaker Moore said the General Assembly’s budget proposal maintained North Carolina’s successful approach to responsible spending and tax relief, but the Governor and Democratic Party’s shift to the left is preventing common ground on funding issues.
“If you look at the budgets that we have passed consistently since there’s been a Republican majority, they’re working,” Speaker Moore said.
“They’re getting the money where they need to be, they are making the right kind of adjustments and reductions to the tax code that are spurring business and more companies expanding in our state so more people can work.
“What we have done is create an environment when it comes to tax policy, regulatory reform, where businesses want to be here, where they want to expand and where they grow so more people can go out there and they can get a job.
“I mean for the last few years, Forbes magazine, CNBC, ranked us in the top state in the country, either 1, 2, or 3, out of the whole country, of states that companies are looking to expand.
“One thing we did in this budget and what we’ve done with our economic development policy, is to try to do some things to make sure that we aren’t leaving rural North Carolina behind.”
Regarding Medicaid expansion, Speaker Moore said the Governor’s efforts to expand the federal entitlement program without work requirements should instead focus on existing services for the currently eligible population.
“Even for the population of folks, right now who are already on Medicaid, not everything is covered to the level that we want it covered,” Speaker Moore said.
“We worked for example this year in the budget, to make sure that we expanded coverage for autistic children, because they really require a lot of special treatment and care so that they can do well. Well to do that stuff costs a lot of money and there are a lot of treatments and care that are needed and none of this stuff is cheap.
“Well if we just start adding more people to the pool, you either dilute services or increase costs, or a combination of both. Why would we want to make it harder on those who are disabled, those who are at home with disabled children, or those or already qualify who are working who are trying to get by if there is somebody who is clearly able bodied and just is refusing to work.
“The Governor’s plan would allow those folks to come in on Medicaid. I don’t think that right Troy, I think anytime you expand it, if somebody is able bodied ought to have to be required to have a job.”
“Serious money” for state employee pay raises is also being blocked by the Governor’s veto, Speaker Moore noted, saying salary increases should not be “held hostage over one issue.”
“This budget recognizes and represents one of the largest pay raises for state employees in decades, its 2.5% per year, so 5% over the two years,” Speaker Moore said.
“This is an absolutely huge pay raise for these state employees. And it is life changing for many of them. it also prioritizes some real target areas, you know our corrections officials who are there in the prisons, guarding folks is a very tough job, and we’ve increased their pay.
“We’ve stepped up and done more, for example for our highway patrol, we know our men and women in the law enforcement have a tough job. We have prioritized these and really done all we can to fully fund that.
“So we’ve put in serious money, very serious money to help our state employees, and our teachers and our retirees, because we really know how important they are to our state and we think it’s the right thing to do.
“You heard a little bit of talking, and now it’s almost a yell from the state employees, really demanding that the legislature go in and override Governor Cooper’s veto. Because they don’t believe, and I agree with them, they don’t believe that their pay raises should be being held hostage over one issue.”
Blocking an entire state budget’s investments over a single policy issue ultimatum is “playing politics,” Speaker Moore said in the interview.
“I don’t think it’s right for the Governor to hold up this budget over Medicaid expansion or any one single issue,” Moore said.
“It’s not necessary to deal with that issue and pass a budget that funds everything else from roads, to prisons, to schools, and all these things that we need for economic development, to our universities, health and human services, all these great things.
“To try to use funding fir everything that’s important to this state over one Medicaid issue, I mean that’s just playing politics, and I just don’t think that’s a responsible thing to do, I don’t think that’s the way this should work out.”
Speaker Moore listed major capital projects in Cumberland County threatened by the Governor’s veto, including $46 million for a Civil War Museum, $28 million for K-12 capital construction, $20 million for renovations at Fayetteville Technical Community College, and over $15 million for renovations at Fayetteville State University
“This budget that we have right now, is either passed as it is, or it’s not passed as it is,” Speaker Moore said.
“I’m hopeful that we override this veto and pass it as it is. It is bipartisan, it passed on a bipartisan basis.”
Speaker Moore was asked in the interview about the perception of increased partisanship in state and national politics the last few years and said “a very liberal policy agenda” in the Democratic Party was making common ground difficult to find.
“In the last four years the Democratic Party if you look nationally where it has gone has tilted really, really far to the left,” Moore said.
“Many of the Democrats in North Carolina, not all of them, but a lot of the elected Democrats in North Carolina, have gone to the left.
“With respect to Governor Cooper, Governor Cooper is a fine man and I think very highly of him and I would never criticize him personally but I do take issue with a number of the political positions he takes.
“I do think he has taken political positions that put him very much to the left of where I think North Carolina is.
“I would expect the positions that he has taken, with all due respect, from a governor of New York or California, and so that’s kind of where we are with this budget.
“We have the Governor who has taken a very liberal policy agenda on a number of things, we could start rattling off all kinds of issues and here we have a budget I would say is a very practical budget. It has some tax cuts in it, it’s balanced with making sure we are putting money and spending it in the right places.
“And so when one party has gone so far to the left it makes it difficult for folks to find that common ground, and believe me, we’ve tried.”