The Latest: Budget given final OK, heading to Cooper

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on debate on the North Carolina state budget bill negotiated by Republicans at General Assembly (all times local):

3:15 p.m.

The North Carolina General Assembly has finished voting on its two-year state government spending plan. The measure’s next stop is Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk, where he’ll be hard pressed not to veto it.

The House gave its final approval Thursday to the budget bill by a vote of 77-38. The Senate completed its voting Wednesday.

Cooper and fellow Democrats have blasted the Republicans’ budget agreement as irresponsible and a failure because it doesn’t provide enough education funding and gives tax cuts to the wealthy and to corporations.

Cooper has 10 days to act on the budget. In a statement, Cooper’s spokesman says the governor will announce his plans in the coming days and repeated Cooper’s criticisms.

Republican majorities are large enough to override a Cooper veto.

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1:35 p.m.

North Carolina Republican legislative leaders are daring Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to sign the two-year state budget that will soon be heading to his desk, saying the spending plan contains many items that Cooper sought.

House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger told reporters Thursday the plan contains middle-class tax cuts, nearly 10 percent teacher raises on average over two years and money for Hurricane Matthew relief and reserves. The Senate’s already approved the budget. The House was slated to hold its final vote Thursday afternoon.

Cooper already has blasted the budget as possibly the most fiscally irresponsible budget he’s ever seen, so a veto sounds likely. But Berger said legislators “will quickly override” Cooper if he uses his veto stamp.

House Minority Leader Darren Jackson says fellow Democrats will support Cooper’s veto and calls the final budget petty and partisan.

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2:50 a.m.

The state budget drawn up by Republicans at the North Carolina legislature will soon be in the hands of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who’s already made plain his dislike for it.

The House scheduled its second and final vote for the spending plan Thursday afternoon. The House already gave the measure tentative approval Wednesday. The Senate completed its budget business following affirmative votes Tuesday and Wednesday.

It’ll be up to Cooper whether to veto the measure, which would spend $23 billion in the coming year. He’s already called the two-year spending plan fiscally irresponsible and fails when it comes to education and economic development.

Cooper’s veto would be difficult to sustain — Republicans hold veto-proof majorities and even a handful of Democrats have voted yes on the budget this week.