Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue on Sunday vetoed a budget passed by the Republican-controlled N.C. legislature, setting up a potential veto override vote in the General Assembly this week.
In rejecting the $19.7 billion spending plan, Perdue said the budget would move North Carolina backwards.
“Now, for the first time, we have a legislature that is turning its back on our schools, our children, our longstanding investments in education and our future economic prospects,” Perdue said in a statement delivered before vetoing the budget.
The veto came two days before the deadline for the governor to either veto or sign the budget before it would automatically become law.
The focus now shifts from the Capitol to the legislative building where Republicans control both chambers for the first time in more than a century. The GOP holds a veto-proof majority in the N.C. Senate, but falls four seats shy of such a majority in the N.C. House.
However, five Democrats broke party ranks to support the budget in the House and have indicated that they would vote to override a gubernatorial veto.
“The only explanation for this veto and her statewide media campaign is that the governor believes it is more important to energize her liberal base than to govern responsibly,” N.C. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger (R-Guilford, Rockingham) said in a release issued in the wake of Sunday’s veto.
If a vote to override the governor’s veto fails, the legislature would need to craft a new spending plan before the start of the fiscal year on July 1. The veto comes as the budget faces a lawsuit in Wake County Superior Court over the question of funding public education.