Hear Wednesday’s veto override vote in the N.C. House with the audio player below, provided by VoterRadio.com:
Just minutes after midnight Wednesday, the N.C. House voted 73-46 to override Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of a $19.7 billion state budget.
Five Democrats (Brisson, Crawford, Hill, Owens, Spear) who supported the spending plan in the House joined a unified Republican caucus in voting to overcome the veto issued Sunday by the governor. The support of the five Democrats was crucial, as Republicans are four seats shy of a veto-proof majority in the House.
Critics of the budget said it cuts spending too deeply for state programs, including public education.
“You cannot hide this budget in the dark of night,” said House Minority Leader Joe Hackney (D-Chatham, Moore, Orange), arguing against an override vote. “It is the worst education budget in modern history.”
Supporters of the spending plan said its cuts were a necessary result of the economic downturn.
“This budget creates jobs,” said House Majority Leader Paul Stam (R-Wake), speaking in favor of overturning the governor’s veto. “I think it’s time to put all this rhetoric aside and realize this is a responsible budget in a difficult year.”
One of the major differences between Perdue and legislative Republicans was the question of extending all or part of a temporary 1-cent sales tax increase, which brings in about $1 billion annually in state revenue.
“Tonight, the Republican-controlled legislature turned its back on North Carolina’s long-standing commitment to our people to provide quality schools, community colleges and universities — all to save a penny,” Perdue said in a statement released after the override vote in the House.
The N.C. Senate is likely to take up the veto override vote Wednesday or Thursday. Republicans hold a veto-proof majority in that chamber.