The political gamesmanship taking place in Raleigh would be fun to watch if it didn’t affect so many North Carolinians. It started last week when Governor Perdue called Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger to the governor’s mansion for a face-to-face meeting, asking them to compromise on the budget they passed.
Perdue asked the two legislative leaders to come up with 100 million dollars more for education. In a 20 billion dollar budget, this isn’t much to find, she told them…suggesting they take it from the Rainy Day fund. Perdue wanted a small victory, but Tillis and Berger turned the tables, saying that if this was all Perdue wanted it signified their budget wasn’t that bad. They respectfully declined her offer, setting up speculation as to whether or not Perdue would veto the budget, as she did last year. One can only imagine the discussions taking place in the Capitol. Would a Perdue veto help or hurt Democrats in November? Do the legislators have enough votes to overturn her veto?
Legislative leaders called their own press conference to tell Perdue this deal was as good as they were willing to offer. If Perdue vetoed the budget they would quickly assess whether or not they had the votes to overturn and, if so, they would quickly do so. If not, they would just let the budget passed in 2011 go into affect and adjourn sine die. Perdue played out her hand and vetoed the budget on Friday.
So here’s the scenario. Legislators will quickly assess whether or not they can override the veto. If not, they will adjourn on Tuesday, as planned, and go home, leaving voters to decide who won and who lost. High stakes showdown poker, but unfortunately our citizens are the pawns in this chess game.