Nov. 19, 2021
The North Carolina General Assembly gave its final approval to a two-year state budget on Thursday and sent it to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who quickly signed it into law. Cooper announced on Tuesday that he would sign the legislature’s final bill into law once it reached his desk, saying the good contained inside the Republican-penned bill “outweighs the bad.” Before now, Cooper had never signed a traditional, comprehensive state budget into law since taking office in 2017. During Cooper’s first two years, Republicans overrode his budget vetoes with veto-proof majorities. In 2019, after Democrats gained seats and Cooper connected the budget to an unsuccessful attempt to expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of additional residents, his veto couldn’t be overturned by Republicans, leading to a stalemate with GOP leaders that was never fully resolved.
After months of closed-door negotiations between legislative leaders and members of Gov. Roy Cooper’s staff, North Carolina will have a budget for the first time since 2018. Expanding the state’s Medicaid, a policy that has been a Holy Grail for Democrats and a non-starter for Republicans, continued to hold up negotiations and disappoint Cooper. The tussle over Medicaid expansion, along with disagreements over teacher pay, impeded compromise between Republicans leading the General Assembly and the Democratic governor for more than five months after the start of the state’s fiscal year on July 1. Those were the same two disagreements that led to a budget stalemate in 2019, leaving North Carolina without a new state budget document since 2018. What made the difference this year was the COVID-19 pandemic and the billions of federal aid flowing from federal coffers to the state to facilitate historic changes.
President Joe Biden signed his hard-fought $1 trillion infrastructure deal into law Monday before a bipartisan, celebratory crowd on the White House lawn, declaring that the new infusion of cash for roads, bridges, ports and more is going to make life “change for the better” for the American people. Republican U.S. Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina, a member of the bipartisan Senate group that successfully negotiated and drafted bill, praised the new law. “This bipartisan infrastructure bill is a big win for all North Carolinians, funding infrastructure projects and creating good-paying jobs without raising taxes,” Tillis said in a news release. “As a member of the bipartisan infrastructure group in the Senate, I worked hard to ensure this package improves North Carolina’s roads, highways, and bridges, as well as major funding for clean water.”
It is a huge honor for a tree grower to be chosen to provide the official Christmas tree for the White House, and that’s exactly what has happened at Peak Farms in Ashe County, NC. Officials from the White House were at the Christmas tree farm near Jefferson last month to select a tree for the upcoming holiday season. That tree was cut down on Wednesday. It’s the third time the farm has been selected by the White House.
NOTE: There will be no ONS Report next week due to the Thanksgiving Holiday
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