By Nyamekye Daniel
(The Center Square) – Three North Carolina counties have taken action against Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the state budget, sparking another saga in the budget standoff.
Union, Avery and Sampson county commissioners all unanimously have voted to file a resolution that calls on the governor to enact the budget and release funds for the counties’ operations.
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As the months of the fiscal year draw closer to the next, North Carolina’s $24 billion spending bill for 2019-2021 remains bonded to Cooper’s late-June veto.
The governor vetoed the budget because it excluded many parts of his spending proposal, including a $2 billion Medicaid expansion and a pay raise of more than 9% for teachers.
In the meantime, many local governments are relying on the previous biennium budget to finance their recurring expenses.
Nearly $50 million in nonrecurring funds remain in limbo for Union, Avery and Sampson counties.
All of the resolutions ”strongly encourages all members of the General Assembly to act in accordance with the needs of the state and support” the communities the officials govern.
Union County is waiting on $26.2 million for infrastructure improvements, education, and substance-abuse and homeless services. The biggest expense on hold is $20 million for K-12 county schools.
N.C. Sen. Todd Johnson, R-Union, told Union County commissioners March 2 he plans to reach out to the North Carolina Board of Education and urge them to make a similar motion.
“This is real money that can affect and help education in this county,” he said.
In Avery County, officials want the state to release $10.5 million for public safety, education, recreation and social services for its residents, most of which is to be used for school construction and renovations.
“Gov. Cooper is betraying rural and suburban voters,” N.C. Sen. Warren Daniel R-Avery, said. “He vetoed cash to build new schools while helping block voter ID.”
Sampson County needs $22.5 million from state coffers for multiple water and sewage repair projects and school construction.
“I hope this resolution, as well as the many others that have passed throughout our state, demonstrate the public’s support of the General Assembly’s proposed budget and the local funding within it,” N.C. Sen. Brent Jackson, R-Sampson, said.