Nc Legislative Leaders Regroup After Cooper Budget Offer

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Republican legislative leaders will soon draw up another budget offer for Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper after he presented a counterproposal in the state budget talks.

House Speaker Tim Moore confirmed on Thursday that Cooper sent a counteroffer to him and Senate leader Phil Berger earlier this week.

The two GOP leaders last week finalized internal negotiations on a state government budget and presented that plan for Cooper to consider.

“That counteroffer is not something that we can agree to, but we’re going to have conversations with the governor and see if we can get somewhere,” Moore told reporters. He hopes legislators can return a new offer to Cooper this week. The News & Observer of Raleigh first reported Cooper’s counteroffer on Wednesday, citing Berger.

The two legislative leaders have declined to discuss sticking points with Cooper, saying they want to keep their negotiations private for now.

Cooper told reporters on Tuesday that he entered into the budget talks hoping to expand Medicaid, pay teachers more and reach education spending levels to comply with a court-approved plan designed to address inequities for children. Tax cuts and capital spending are among the big items important to Republicans.

Berger, Moore and Cooper have been more optimistic this year that a deal could be hammered out that the governor would be willing to sign into law. A conventional two-year state government never got enacted in 2019 when Cooper vetoed the GOP-approved plan.

The fiscal year began July 1, but budget talks are way behind. The House didn't vote for its own spending proposal until early August.