Under the Dome

Dome: Tillis plays finders keepers with budget

February 12, 2013 

Here’s a little more about House Speaker Thom Tillis’ thinking on budget cuts this year.

Tillis, a Republican from Mecklenburg County, spoke with reporters Tuesday, and said a nearly $106 million budget surplus puts the state in a better financial position than it was two years ago when the Republicans took over the legislature.

But no matter how big the surplus, Tillis said, he would expect state agencies to keep looking for ways to save money. Until now, he said, there hasn’t been any incentive to do that. As a result. He’s come up with a little game.

“What I’m trying to tell every agency in this state that I’ve met with, we’re going to play a game of finders keepers,” Tillis said. “If these agencies come forward with recommendations to run more efficiently, we’re going to find a way to let them keep those efficiencies and put them into strategic projects: repairs and renovations, whatever they want to.

“However, if we have to work to find the efficiencies, they’re probably not going to keep them. … If we are the ones who ultimately have to find it, then we can no longer trust that leader to find these things in his or her agency.”

Speaking of the state budget, the budget subcommittee on health and human services got a timeline on scheduling that has a state budget finished and passed by both House and Senate on June 13.

Manufacturing emphasis

Gov. Pat McCrory on Tuesday announced the creation of an assistant commerce secretary for manufacturing.

McCrory said the post was designed to be an advocate for manufacturing within state government policy circles.

Appearing at the Emerging Issues Forum, in which manufacturing was the key topic, McCrory said his administration will emphasize fostering manufacturing in the state as part of its efforts to reduce the state’s high unemployment rate.

He noted that his father, a mechanical engineer, came to North Carolina to work for a manufacturing plant.

The move was hailed by the N.C. Chamber of Commerce.

“North Carolina’s manufacturing sector is critical to our state economy,” said Lew Ebert, the chamber’s president and CEO. “In fact, manufacturing remains the leading contributor to North Carolina’s gross domestic product, and provides good-paying jobs to more than 10 percent of our state’s work force.”

McCrory touts energy biz

McCrory also told those attending Tuesday’s event that he plans to go Washington next week to meet with Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley to discuss forming an Outer Continental Shelf coalition to discuss offshore drilling for oil and gas.

McCrory said he plans to meet with McDonnell and Haley to discuss revenue sharing agreements with the federal government for future drilling rights.

“North Carolina has to get into the energy business,” he said. “We are going to do it safely. We are going to get into it in an environmentally sound way.

“We can either sit on the sidelines like the governors of the past 10 years, or take proactive measures and get North Carolina in the energy business.”

Staff writers Craig Jarvis, Lynn Bonner and Rob Christensen

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