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The Republican Party of North Carolina The Republican Party of North Carolina

Cooper's Record Of Blatant Hypocrisy Continues To Grow 

Raleigh, NC — It appears Governor Cooper has had a change of heart.  Not long ago, Cooper argued for the General Assembly’s control of all aspects of the amendment process—including the ballot question.

In 2006, a group of voters filed a federal lawsuit challenging an amendment approved by voters in 2004 which did away with the right of the people to vote on Tax Increment Financing bonds (TIFs)[1]. The case, 
Bishop, et al. v. Bartlett, et al., named then-Attorney General Roy Cooper in his official capacity as one of the defendants. As Attorney General, Cooper and his staff represented all of the defendants.[2]  

The plaintiffs in that case claimed that the ballot question adopted by the Democrat controlled General Assembly was unconstitutionally misleading. Cooper argued that, if the court let them sue, the ballot question was constitutional because the General Assembly had the right to control “all aspects” of the amendment process—including the ballot question.

In a legal briefing to the federal district court, Cooper and his staff fought for the General Assembly’s ability to control the amendment process. When the plaintiffs took their case to the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, Cooper wrote: 

"The North Carolina Supreme Court has made clear that all aspects of the manner in which a proposed constitutional amendment is put before the voters is within the control of the General Assembly." [3]

Cooper now wants a court to block ballot questions drafted by the General Assembly, but back when it was in his interest, he knew the General Assembly has control over “all aspects” of the amendment process including the ballot question.

"There's a simple reason for Cooper's legal flip-flip," stated NCGOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse. "Cooper now has gubernatorial power.  Cooper's 30-plus years in state government comes back to haunt him once again, and voters deserve an explanation for his hypocritical about-face."

Background:

1982 Ballot Language: "FOR/AGAINST Constitutional amendment permitting the General Assembly to enact general laws permitting issuance of tax increment bonds, without voter approval." (Rejected 810,565 To 182,147)

1993 Ballot Language: "FOR/AGAINST Constitutional amendment permitting the General Assembly to enact general laws permitting issuance of bonds without a referendum to finance public projects associated with private industrial and commercial economic development projects, with the bonds to be secured in whole or in part by the additional revenues from taxes levied on the incremental value of the property in the territorial area." (Rejected 651,190 To 197,762)

2003 Ballot Language: "FOR/AGAINST Constitutional amendment to promote local economic and community development projects by (i) permitting the General Assembly to enact general laws giving counties, cities, and towns the power to finance public improvements associated with qualified private economic and community improvements within development districts, as long as the financing is secured by the additional tax revenues resulting from the enhanced property value within the development district and is not secured by a pledge of the local government's faith and credit or general taxing authority, which financing is not subject to a referendum; and (ii) permitting the owners of property in the development district to agree to a minimum tax value for their property, which is binding on future owners as long as the development district is in existence." (Adopted 1,504,391 To 1,429,179)

[1] Summary, “Legal Challenge to the Validity of the Constitutional Amendment Permitting Tax Increment Financing,” University Of North Carolina School Of Government, Accessed 8/14/18
[2] Bishop, et al. v Bartlett, et al.5:06-CV-462-FL, United States District Court, Eastern District Of North Carolina, 8/18/2007
[3] Brief Of Appellees, Bishop, et al. v Bartlett, et al., No. 07-1840 United States Court Of Appeals For The Fourth Circuit, 9/5/2008
 

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