Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

At the North Carolina State Capitol on Thursday, Republicans refused to hold a vote on overriding Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of their budget, which proposed new corporate tax cuts. (Photo: ayeshamus/Flickr/cc)

'Political Corruption in Real Time': Viral Video Shows North Carolina GOP Sabotaging Democracy in Effort to Secure Corporate Tax Cuts

"This isn't just a harmless game. It's the reason there's no budget in North Carolina."

Julia Conley

A viral video shared by a Democratic state lawmaker in North Carolina shows "political corruption in real time," as Republican state senators refuse to hold a vote while Democrats are present—in order to secure corporate tax cuts in their proposed budget.

State Sen. Jeff Jackson posted a video to Twitter on Thursday in which he is shown demanding that Republicans, who control both houses of the state legislature, call a vote on Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of the state budget.

Democrats hold 21 of the 50 Senate seats, the minimum needed to keep an override from passing as long as all Democrats are present for the vote.

Cooper vetoed the Republican budget in June, calling it "a bad budget with the wrong priorities." The proposal included corporate tax breaks but lacked meaningful raises for teachers and Medicaid expansion funding.

For days, Jackson said, Republicans had canceled a vote on overriding the veto when all Democrats were present. The cancellations were made, Jackson said, in the hopes that the GOP could "catch us unaware and override the veto," allowing the GOP's budget to go through.

"To be clear: Repeatedly postponing a vote not because some members are absent but because all members are present isn't just a dumb political game—it's a failure of integrity," tweeted Jackson. "It's petty corruption. And every day it continues it's hurting our state."

In the video, Jackson accused the Republican leadership of "maneuvering to try to get an unfair vote."

"We'll call one at the right time," Republican state Sen. Jerry Tillman replied. "I hope you'll miss it but nevertheless we'll call it."

The legislature won't take up the budget debate again until early 2020. According to the Morning Call, with Cooper's veto upheld and debate on a new budget bill stalled until January, "action can't occur on the budget bill or funding to carry out the state's long-planned Medicaid managed-care overhaul, which is now in danger of failing to begin Feb. 1."

"This isn't just a harmless game," Jackson said. "It's the reason there's no budget in North Carolina."

In September, Republicans in the state House maneuvered to override Cooper's veto after holding an unannounced vote when most Democrats were not at their seats.

Cooper called the stunt the GOP's "most deceptive stunt yet," and from other Democrats including state Rep. Deb Butler. Butler was seen in another viral video that garnered national attention, accusing the Republican leaders of "trickery" as one of her colleagues decried the "hijacking of democracy."

The state GOP's advantage over Democrats may be short-lived; this week a state court ruled that the current congressional map was the result of an unconstitutional gerrymander by Republicans. The court said in its decision on Monday that the GOP left "a detailed record of both the partisan intent and the intended partisan effect of the 2016 congressional districts."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Rights Groups Call Biden Order for Spying, Data Sharing Deal With EU 'Insufficient'

"The White House has failed to grapple meaningfully with the privacy questions at the heart of this issue," said one critic. "Congress must act where the administration has not."

Jessica Corbett ·


UK Accused of Giving 'Two Fingers Up' to Climate With New Oil and Gas Licenses

"By encouraging greedy fossil fuel companies to keep looking for more fossil fuels, the U.K. government is denying the reality of the climate emergency," said one campaigner.

Julia Conley ·


Naomi Klein Spotlights Perils of UN Climate Summit Hosted by Despotic Egyptian Regime

"Unless political freedoms are defended, there will be no meaningful climate action. Not in Egypt, nor anywhere else. These issues are intertwined, as are our fates."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Dangerous Moment': Record Deforestation in Amazon Shows Stakes of Brazil Election

The runoff between Bolsonaro and Lula, warned one activist, is "not just about the future of Brazil, the result will have an impact on all of humanity."

Jessica Corbett ·


Progressives Warn Fed-Induced Recession Will 'Throw Millions of Americans Out of Work'

"It takes a while for higher interest rates to have a big impact," one expert stressed, "and there's a huge concern the Fed has overshot and secured a recession in coming months."

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo