Governor Cooper Says He Will Sign General Assembly Budget

Today Governor Cooper announced that he will sign the General Assembly state budget after passage, saying of this budget: “This time we got many things right.”
 
House Speaker Tim Moore said, “This budget represents months of hard work and good-faith negotiations between Republicans and Democrats, House and Senate, and our Governor. The result is a spending plan for the state that addresses the most critical needs of North Carolinians.”
 
He continued, “North Carolina has not had a budget since 2018, and I am encouraged that Governor Cooper has promised to sign this budget and we can finally give our state a budget they can truly be proud of and one that meets the most critical needs of North Carolinians.”

North Carolina General Assembly Unveils State Budget

Spending plan includes historic investments in Education, Healthcare, Infrastructure and Savings

 
Today the North Carolina House of Representatives and the North Carolina Senate unveiled their state budget.
 
SB 105 makes historic investments in four critical areas: education, healthcare, infrastructure, and savings.
 
Following months of good-faith negotiations between Republican Leadership and Democrats who set out with a common cause— to create a budget designed to serve all of North Carolina, the General Assembly has released a spending plan that addresses the critical needs of all citizens. The Governor’s input is also clearly reflected in the bipartisan conference report.
 
Education
 
Historic education investments include increases in early childhood services, teacher pay and professional development, community college staff and programs, digital learning at all levels, STEM programs, record investments in Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and more.  Teachers will receive an average 6.7% over the biennium and up to $2800 in bonuses.  Non-certified school and community college personnel pay will increase to at least $15/hr. The NC Promise Program will be expanded to Fayetteville State University.
 
Healthcare
 
This budget addresses the top healthcare crisis in our State by increasing pay for the thousands of direct support personnel who provide daily care for our elderly and most medically fragile and disabled persons and their families.  An additional 1,000 Innovations Waiver slots are created to serve the intellectually and developmentally disabled. Postpartum Medicaid services for new moms will be extended to a full year, providing the support mothers and babies need to begin a healthy life. The General Assembly will also establish a joint committee to recommend legislation to study methods to address healthcare access and consider Medicaid expansion.
 
Infrastructure 
 
A record $8 billion infrastructure plan that addresses critical needs across North Carolina, including over $800 million for school construction supported by the lottery; a new Brody School of Medicine at ECU, critical projects at every University across the state; funds for community colleges, expanding broadband service, local water and sewer projects, airports, roads and rail; parks, trails and clean water conservation. This plan begins the most ambitious building program in state history.
 
Savings and Tax Cuts
 
The State of North Carolina will build its reserves even further by increasing the “Rainy Day” Savings Reserve Fund to $4.25 billion and appropriating $800 million for disaster relief projects and reserves, including Hurricane Fred relief funds.
 
Overall, the pro-growth tax policy in this budget puts North Carolina on the path of lowering the personal income tax to 3.99% and eliminating the corporate income tax rate. Furthermore, in recognition of their service to the safety and security of our State and Nation, the military pensions for our Veterans will now be tax-free. PPP loans will be tax-deductible, a key to help to the small businesses of this state who relied on these loans to survive the economic shutdowns of 2020. The Historic Preservation Tax Credit will be extended to 2031, a key priority for rural and small-town North Carolina’s economic development.
 
State employees will also receive a 5% raise plus bonuses for the biennium and retired state employees and teachers will receive 5% in bonuses over two years.
 
House Speaker Tim Moore said, “This budget represents months of hard work and good-faith negotiations between Republicans and Democrats, House and Senate, and our Governor. Although we have many differences, we each had the common goal of coming together to create a spending plan for the state, one of the General Assembly’s most important constitutional obligations. In the end, I am confident that we have come together to design a budget that truly meets the most critical needs of all North Carolinians.”

Joint Statement from Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore

Raleigh, N.C. – Union County Judge David Lee today ordered executive branch leaders to withdraw $1.7 billion from the General Fund and spend it on his and Gov. Roy Cooper’s preferred policy items. The order is part of the 27-year old education funding lawsuit commonly referred to as “Leandro.”
 
Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) issued the following statement:
 
“This case has devolved into an attempt by politically allied lawyers and the Governor to enact the Governor’s preferred budget plan via court order, cutting out the legislature from its proper and constitutional role.
 
“If Judge Lee’s orders are followed, the legislature’s core duty is usurped by an unelected county-level trial judge and an out-of-state consultancy funded by the Governor and his political allies.
 
“Thankfully, executive branch officials swear an oath to the Constitution, not to an unelected county-level trial judge. A judge does not have the legal or constitutional authority to order a withdrawal from the state’s General Fund [see below].
 
“The only rebuttal to this clear precedent is an absurd theory developed by Attorney General Josh Stein, which argues that the Constitution, in 1868, ordered a specific funding level for the education budget in the year 2021, and that only an out-of-state consultancy called WestEd can divine the precise funding level the 1868 Constitution ordered.
 
“It’s a circus.”
 
The Constitution confirms budgeting is the legislature’s exclusive prerogative: “No money shall be drawn from the State treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law.” (Article V, Section 7.)
 
The North Carolina Court of Appeals confirms budgeting is the legislature’s exclusive prerogative: “Appropriating money from the State treasury is a power vested exclusively in the legislative branch and no money shall be drawn from the State treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law. Because the State constitution vests the authority to appropriate money solely in the legislative branch, the Separation of Powers Clause prohibits the judiciary from taking public monies without statutory authorization.” (Richmond Cty. Bd. of Educ. v. Cowell.)
 
The North Carolina Supreme Court confirms budgeting is the legislature’s exclusive prerogative: “The power of the purse is the exclusive prerogative of the General Assembly, with the origin of the appropriations clause dating back to the time that the original state constitution was ratified in 1776.” (Cooper v. Berger.)

Rogue Judge Signals Intent to Circumvent NC General Assembly, Force Unconstitutional Appropriation of Funds

Special Superior Court Judge David Lee has signaled his intent to circumvent the authority of the General Assembly by ordering the transfer of funds outside the appropriations process. Judge Lee’s actions would be a clear violation of the North Carolina constitution. 
 
Instead of defending the State as our constitution requires, Attorney General Josh Stein has opened the door to a violation of the separation of powers by a rogue judge.
 
House Speaker Tim Moore said, “Attorney General Josh Stein, who only considers the North Carolina Constitution a suggestion on how to perform his duties, now sees a mandate where none exists. The North Carolina Constitution gives the General Assembly the exclusive authority to appropriate funds. Any attempt to circumvent the legislature in this regard would amount to judicial misconduct and will be met with the strongest possible response.”
 
He continued, “The legislative branch is the closest to the people. And the people were loud and clear when they elected their representatives in the General Assembly to do their job as outlined in our constitution. How many times will the courts tell North Carolinians their vote doesn’t matter?”

Speaker Moore Resolves to Fight Biden Vaccine Mandate

Raleigh, NC— This week, the Biden administration announced a new vaccine mandate for businesses with at least 100 employees. Employers will be forced to either mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for their workers or require weekly testing, the White House said Thursday. If employers do not follow the mandate, they could face fines up to $14,000 per employee.
 
The House has addressed vaccine mandates earlier this year, passing House Bill 572, “No Vaccine Mandate by EO, Rule, or Agency.”
 
House Bill 686, “An Act Prohibiting State and Local Government Retribution Regarding Refusal of Vaccines” is currently in committee.
 
However, this mandate from the White House goes far beyond any previous guidance. The Biden mandate for employers is wholly unconstitutional and is a violation of the freedom of all North Carolinians, employers and employees.
 
NC House Speaker Tim Moore said, “The Biden vaccine mandate is a shocking invasion of medical privacy and individual liberty, and we will not stand for it.”
 
He continued, “I am exploring every legal option to defend the rights of North Carolinians against this unconstitutional mandate.”

NC House Gives Approval to Senate Maps, Congressional Maps

Today the North Carolina House of Representatives has approved both Senate Bill 739, the Senate redistricting plan and Senate Bill 740, the Congressional redistricting plan.
 
NC House Speaker Tim Moore said, “I am confident that the House and Senate have approved redistricting plans that include maps that are constitutional in every respect.”
 
He continued, “This redistricting process has provided the public with an unprecedented view into the process. In fact, not only did we hold hearings for public comments before and after maps had been drawn, but every single map was drawn in public view.”

North Carolina Earns Top Spot in Business Climate Rankings

North Carolina has received the top spot in Site Selection’s 2021 Business Climate Rankings.
 
In the announcement, Site Selection identified several conservative policies, enacted by the Republican majority in our state, that contributed to North Carolina coming out on top. Some of those considerations included incentives, improved education, and limited regulations, as well as our state’s low corporate income tax rate, attracting businesses and creating major job growth.
 
“One of North Carolina’s competitive advantages for several years has been its 2.5% corporate tax rate — the lowest of the 44 states that levy such a tax. ” – Site Selection, 11/2/2021
 
NC House Speaker Tim Moore said, “It is no accident that North Carolina is being recognized again as the best state for businesses. Since Republicans took the majority in 2011, conservative policies have been enacted that have attracted an astonishing number of business to our state.”
 
He continued, “North Carolina is on the right track, and our conservative policies have created an exceptional business-friendly climate that will continue to be a haven for businesses looking to escape over regulation and higher costs elsewhere.”

NC House Votes to Approve 2021 Redistricting Plan

Today the North Carolina House of Representatives voted to approve H 976, the “House Redistricting Plan 2021.”

The purpose of H 976 is to “realign North Carolina House of Representatives districts following the return of the 2020 Federal Census.”

NC House Speaker Tim Moore said, “The redistricting process has been the most transparent in the history of our state, and I am confident that the districts that have been drawn are constitutional in every respect.”

House Speaker Tim Moore Responds to Governor’s Veto of Emergency Powers Bill

Today Governor Cooper vetoed House Bill 264, the Emergency Powers Accountability Act. This makes his 65th veto during his tenure as Governor.

HB 264 would have created a definition of “concurrence of the Council of State” under the North Carolina Emergency Management Act, which would clarify how the Governor is to seek such a concurrence when exercising certain authorities and would require the Governor to seek concurrence of the Council of State in additional instances.

NC House Speaker Tim Moore said, “North Carolina remains in a state of emergency, now for a total of 600 days. During that time, many in our state have felt their individual liberties deteriorate under extreme mandates and policies as a result of unilateral decisions made by our Governor in the midst of the pandemic.”

He continued, “I am disappointed that Governor Cooper is blocking a bill that simply allows for checks and balances, not just for him, but any governor, Republican or Democrat, in the future.”

North Carolina House Passes Emergency Powers Accountability Act

Today the North Carolina House of Representatives has passed HB 264, the Emergency Powers Accountability Act.
 
House Bill 264 would create a definition of “concurrence of the Council of State” under the North Carolina Emergency Management Act, which would clarify how the Governor is to seek such a concurrence when exercising certain authorities and would require the Governor to seek concurrence of the Council of State in additional instances.
 
North Carolina has been under its current state of emergency, declared by Governor Cooper in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, since March 10, 2020.
 
House Speaker Tim Moore said, “During the pandemic, our governor ignored his statutory duty to seek the concurrence of the bipartisan council of state before declaring a state of emergency. With no end date in sight, North Carolina has remained in a perpetual state of emergency for a total of 589 days.”
 
He continued, “The need for checks and balances is arguably most crucial during a statewide emergency. No one individual should have the ability to exercise unilateral power during such an emergency.”