A recent report published by the Cato Institute ranks the country’s governors on their fiscal policies. Among the eight given an “F” was North Carolina’s Governor Roy Cooper.
The eight governors who were given the grade of “F” alongside Roy Cooper are John Bel Edwards of Louisiana, Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, Jim Justice of West Virginia, David Ige of Hawaii, Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota, Kate Brown of Oregon and Jay Inslee of Washington.
Cato’s section on North Carolina is below; emphasis added is mine:
Governor Roy Cooper entered office in 2017 after serving as North Carolina’s attorney general for 16 years. Cooper scored poorly on both spending and taxes in this report. The state’s general fund budget rose 4.3 percent in 2018, and Cooper proposed a 6.5 percent budget increase for 2019. The legislature enacted a lower spending increase for 2019 over Cooper’s veto. Last year’s budget bill was also passed over his veto.
On taxes, Cooper has tried to block efforts by the legislature to make pro-growth reforms. The governor vetoed tax legislation in 2017 but was overridden by the legislature. That law cut the flat individual income rate from 5.499 percent to 5.25 percent and the corporate tax rate from 3.0 percent to 2.5 percent. The bill also changed the individual income tax base, the franchise tax, and sales taxes on business inputs. Altogether, the law will cut taxes by more than $900 million annually.
A similar scenario played out in 2018. Governor Cooper’s budget proposed freezing the phase-in of corporate income tax reductions and some of the personal income tax reductions. He wanted higher revenues to fund a spending increase. The legislature rejected the proposals and passed the budget over Cooper’s veto. The adopted budget includes a smaller spending increase, retains the 2017 tax cuts, and conforms the state’s tax code to recent federal changes. As of June 2018, Cooper had vetoed 14 bills during his year and a half in office, and the legislature had overridden 11 of those vetoes.
According to the Cato Fiscal Policy Report Card, “On taxes, Cooper has tried to block efforts by the legislature to make pro-growth reforms.”
Cooper has done more than just tried to block them, he’s been attacking them at every turn with Occupy Wall Street-style “fair share” rhetoric since he was Candidate Cooper.
“Raise your hand if you believe those at the top should pay their fair share,” Cooper said in one of his 2016 campaign TV ads.
“Giving to those at the top while forcing everyone else to pay more and get less,” Cooper said at his October 2015 campaign kickoff event.
Flashforward to Roy Cooper’s Actual Budgets
Cooper’s budget for FY 2019 would have hiked taxes by freezing the next scheduled tax reduction.
If that budget had been allowed to happen, it would have hiked taxes on North Carolinians to the tune of an estimated $3 billion while simultaneously scaring away businesses.
Not only was Cooper’s budget fiscally irresponsible, but it would also have created a $500 million dollar deficit.
Cooper’s 2017 Budget Was An Occupy Wall Street Nightmare Too
Only days after being sworn in, Cooper was already banging the tax-hike pot.
Roy Cooper’s first budget proposal in 2017 continued his Occupy Wall Street theme.
Cooper’s 2017 budget proposed spending $23.5 billion which would have been a 5.1 percent increase over the previous year’s budget.
How would that budget be paid for? By freezing tax cuts.