Cooper urges Republicans to put more money in his priorities

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper wants more money going to education, rural economic development and other needs in North Carolina’s final spending plan than Republicans have approved in their rival budgets so far.

Cooper also told reporters on Monday that the GOP-dominated General Assembly is giving too much to tax cuts, particularly for the highest-wage earners and corporations.

Cooper held a news conference shortly after the Senate formally rejected the House’s version of the budget approved last week, setting the stage for GOP legislators to negotiate a final plan to present to Cooper. The new fiscal year begins July 1.

Cooper declined for now to threaten a veto, saying he’s optimistic that improvements can be made. But with veto-proof majorities, GOP lawmakers can ignore Cooper if they stay united.