Update: According to a tweet by WRAL’s NC Capitol, Bill Ownes says he’s going to vote for the override.
Sometime on Tuesday, we’re very likely to know the outcome of the vote to override Governor Bev Perdue’s veto of the state budget this past Sunday. Even if you’re a damn good at counting noses, you wouldn’t want to predict the outcome, but it’s safe to predict, maybe, that after briefly complaining about Perdue’s unwillingness to compromise, the GOP is intent on ramming through its plan.
The rule is three-fifth of those present. The Senate is a slam-dunk. With everyone attending, Democrats have a four vote margin in the House. If the so-called Party of Five – five Democrats who voted in favor of the budget – votes to override the veto, then as long as the GOP holds together the budget clears the last hurdle.
The reason so much of the above is conditional is because time and time again there have been strange moments in the North Carolina House of Representatives. If, for instance, three members of the Party of Five, return to the loving bosom of their party, then we go back to a negotiated solution. If two switch and one walks, then it gets complicated.
Already today, we’re hearing about a possible primary challenge to Rep. Jim Crawford and and the potential wavering of Rep. Bill Owens and Tim Spear. Reps. Dewey Hill and William Brisson have checked in as ‘yes’ votes on the override.
As always, ahead of the vote look for signs of sudden illnesses or family emergencies. This time around one thing not among the murmurs is word of any defecting Republicans, a sign of the change in the political landscape and the fact that redistricting, an effective tool in legislative arm-twisting, is still in flux.
My gut says that long and short term, an override is a win for the Governor. In the long run, she’s stood her ground, underlined the cuts and their impact and more effectively pinned the blame for them where they belong. (Nobody is buying that idea the GOP added state jobs.)
In the short term, Perdue has shored up her base and helped everyone forget for a moment the cuts she proposed earlier this year.
There’s a new poll out from PPP this morning showing that the budget is not a winner. Even Republicans are divided on it.
Cuts to education are at the center of voter opposition to the budget. Statewide only 36% of voters think that it’s most important to end the temporary one cent sales tax compared to 50% who think it’s more vital to minimize cuts to education spending. The numbers are similar in Berger’s district where 53% of voters think it’s more important to protect education vs. 36% who think it’s more important to roll back the sales tax and in Tillis’ where 51% side with education to 41% for reducing the sales tax.
Also stirring the pot is a well-timed visit by the POTUS and the Sunday N&O story of hefty raises handed out by House Speaker Thom Tillis to his top staff. Kinda surprising since the speaker has been around long enough to understand how that’s going to play. Hypocrisy resonates, always has.
The veto is effective because its gives more time for the impact of the cuts and the nasty little bits tucked in here and there in the budget to rise to the surface. Still, I expect the GOP to go for the double-down and stick to their current spin. You can imagine the commercials now about how many teaching jobs their budget created. A negotiated solution may be in their best interest and is undoubtedly in the best interest of the state, but it seems like this General Assembly leadership is either being guided directly by the same strategists as the national party or are desperately trying to mimic their ‘no prisoners’ strategy. Either way, you and I lose.