State Politics

Senate leader Phil Berger challenges Gov. Roy Cooper over corporate tax cut comments

Under the Dome: First day of the legislative session

Political reporter Colin Campbell breaks down what happened during the first day of the legislative session and offers insight into what bills legislators are likely to introduce, including a possible repeal of HB2.
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Political reporter Colin Campbell breaks down what happened during the first day of the legislative session and offers insight into what bills legislators are likely to introduce, including a possible repeal of HB2.

Gov. Roy Cooper said he’s asking businesses to back increased education funding over more corporate tax cuts in the legislature this year. Senate leader Phil Berger responded with a post to his Facebook page, saying the legislature has committed to raising teacher pay without raising taxes.

Cooper was the guest Wednesday morning at the annual Eggs & Issues Breakfast sponsored by the Public School Forum of North Carolina. Public School Forum President and CEO Keith Poston interviewed Cooper before a live audience for the forum’s television show Education Matters.

“Clearly we have to invest more in education, and that’s going to be at the top of my list as I prepare my budget,” Cooper said before the show’s taping. “The key is making sure we can pay for it. Further corporate tax giveaways will put us in the position where we can’t. That’s going to be one of the major battles during this General Assembly session. Are we going to invest in education and our people, or are we going to continue with further corporate tax giveaways? And I think we’ve got to make that choice and I want the business community to come together to help us make the right choice.”

Republican legislators maintain that their tax policies have helped families as well as corporations.

Berger, an Eden Republican, criticized Cooper’s position in a Facebook post.

“It’s the first day of session, and Roy Cooper is already trying to set up a road block against tax cuts for N.C. families, small businesses and job creators,” the Facebook post says. The post also references rolling back earlier tax cuts, which Cooper has not proposed.

Cooper, a Democrat, acknowledged the deep partisan divides in the state and nation, but said those can be bridged on some issues.

Lynn Bonner: 919-829-4821, @Lynn_Bonner

Education Matters airs at 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays on WRAL, and is rebroadcast at 9 a.m. on Sundays and 3 p.m. on Mondays on UNC-TV’s North Carolina Channel.

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