Teachers Stand with NC Governor Cooper on Veto; Calls on Legislature to Negotiate Teacher Pay

Raleigh, NC (STL.News) North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper called on legislators to stand with him and North Carolina’s teachers to demand negotiations on a real pay raise for all educators on the state payroll. As he reviewed several bills, he stated that these are not good enough for the people who work hard to prepare students for a bright future, as they are far less than the raises approved for other state employees.

Surrounded by teachers, he vetoed H231 and S354, calling for the legislature to make a meaningful raise a priority for educators. Additionally, the Governor vetoed fiscally irresponsible corporate tax cuts bill.

“I will negotiate the pay raises of teachers and other educators separate and apart from Medicaid expansion,” Gov. Cooper said. “I urge all legislators from both parties to help us come together and support our teachers.”

Gov. Cooper announced his veto of the following bills in a morning ceremony surrounded by teachers who support his veto of paltry raises and corporate tax cuts:

  • H231 UNC System & Community College Pay
  • S354 Strengthening Educator Pay Act
  • S578 Reduce Franchise Tax
  • H398 Information Technology Budget

Gov. Cooper shared the following statement on House Bill 231:

“The General Assembly shortchanges our universities and community colleges and their employees, as well as state retirees, despite a robust economy and decent raises for other state employees.  Higher education is North Carolina’s best economic development tool, and we must invest in education to keep it that way.”

Gov. Cooper shared the following statement on Senate Bill 354:

“The General Assembly continues to shortchange teachers and non-certified school personnel like cafeteria workers, bus drivers and teacher assistants, despite a robust economy and decent raises for other state employees.  Educators deserve more if our schools are to remain competitive with other states and keep good teachers.”

Gov. Cooper shared the following statement on Senate Bill 578:

“This legislation prioritizes corporate tax cuts over investments in education and would further erode state revenue at the same time the General Assembly is underinvesting in schools.  Cutting taxes for corporations at more than $1 billion over five years will hurt North Carolina’s future.”

Additionally, though the bill does create some language around economically advantageous film industry incentives, it does not make needed funding provisions for the grant program.

Gov. Cooper shared the following statement on House Bill 398:

“This legislation fails to adequately fund state cybersecurity and data analytics needs while sending a substantial capital earmark outside the state’s proven university system.”

BACKGROUND ON BUDGET OFFERS

Just two weeks ago, Governor Cooper requested separate negotiations solely on teacher pay, in light of recent piecemeal mini-budgets the legislature has chosen to appropriate.  In his October 18 letter, he requested legislators come together and discuss a way to find a mutually agreed upon solution.

On July 9th, Governor Cooper proposed a Compromise Budget in hopes of jump-starting negotiations.  Governor Cooper’s compromise offer can be found HERE. It would close the health care coverage gap, raise teacher pay, cut taxes for people and guarantee school construction while balancing the budget and saving money in the Rainy Day Fund.

For teachers, that compromise would mean 8.5% raise over two years, far greater than the Republican proposal for 2.0% in 2019-20 and 1.8% in 2020-2021.  Governor Cooper’s first budget proposal of 2019 called for a 9.1% average raise.

No counter-offer has been delivered or discussed with the Administration to address the compromises Governor Cooper has offered.  Instead, legislators continue to try to buy votes with pork and play shell games with the legislative calendar to get a budget that is 100% theirs, holding the Governor’s veto on the legislative calendar repeatedly for days without a vote.