A previous version of this press release referenced an older version of Senate Bill 361, which has since been modified and now excludes expansion of innovation waivers. Please refer to the release below for the most up-to-date information.
RALEIGH, N.C. – On June 19, the governor’s office released a readout of the bipartisan budget meeting. During this meeting, the governor, “made clear that items such as corporate tax cuts, school vouchers andthe SCIF took important budget availability away from priorities like education and health care.”
Gov. Roy Cooper’s vocal opposition to things like corporate tax cuts is strange in light of his championing corporate welfare programs through the Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG). Several of the taxpayer-defrayed incentives the governor supported are:
Up to $2,000,000 in corporate welfare to SynergyLabs, a pet product manufacturer.
Up to $40,000,000 in corporate welfare to Credit Suisse, a financial services company.
Up to $22,000,000 in corporate welfare to Infosys, a business consulting and IT company.
Up to $11,000,000 in corporate welfare to AXA, a financial services company.
When it comes to education, Gov. Cooper’s proposal to discontinue growth of the Opportunity Scholarship Program – an option that has helped thousands of children from low-income families access a quality education – seems disingenuous when in the same budget, he proposes allotments for Hollywood film incentives to the tune of $31,000,000 and funding to revitalize a former NASCAR track at $8,000,000.
The governor’s decision to dole out hundreds of millions in taxpayer money for Hollywood, select corporations, and a race car track make his attack on vouchers for students and reticence to reduce the corporate tax rate ring hollow.
On healthcare, the governor’s proposals also fall short. Medicaid expansion, alone, would cost the state $335 million per year, or the equivalent of state funding for North Carolina’s 25 smallest school districts. Yet, the governor insists expanding Medicaid is the only viable way forward while ignoring free-market alternatives that would serve to drive down costs, creating a more competitive, affordable healthcare market.
Furthermore, the governor’s budget has promised that “Medicaid expansion requires no State dollars, as the federal government pays 90% of the costs and the rest is paid by hospitals and health plans.” Unfortunately, the costs in the form of the bed tax are likely to be passed along to other health insurance customers, rather than solely absorbed by the hospital. This means higher prices for non-Medicaid recipients.
The issues raised here underscore a tendency by the governor to make claims related to how government ought to use taxpayer funds while revealing a behavior pattern that contradicts the very concerns he voices. If Gov. Cooper wants to support a budget that truly helps our state’s needy, reduces cronyism, and promotes education equity, then he will stop cozying up to select corporations in the form of JDIG, support an expansion of the Opportunity Scholarship Program, and promotes healthcare policy solutions that drive down costs and increase competition.