RALEIGH — Gov. Pat McCrory on Tuesday demanded the state Senate take a vote on a education spending plan he supports a day after the chamber’s GOP leaders dismissed the legislation outright.
“I’m very disappointed that the Senate is not taking action on a House bill that was voted unanimously by Republicans and Democrats,” the Republican governor said. “I firmly believe the Senate needs to vote on that.”
In an unusual move, Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca sent the legislation back to the House without considering it, saying it violated a rule requiring balanced spending plans. He has called the mini-budget – Senate Bill 3 – a “gimmick.”
McCrory defended the plan saying it gave teachers pay raises without eliminating tenure and didn’t cut eligibility for Medicaid.
“We shouldn’t be playing parliamentary maneuvers to disallow senators ... from having a transparent and open vote on a very very import vote especially for teachers and educators,” he said.
McCrory went further to suggest the Republican leaders in the Senate are part of the “culture of inside the beltline politics” that didn’t allow votes, comparing them to the Democratic leadership he has frequently criticized.
“This was a plan not developed inside the beltline,” he said, referring to Raleigh. “This is a serious plan that deserves a vote from every senator.”
The Republican disorder provided fodder for Democratic legislative leaders. Sen. Dan Blue and Rep. Larry Hall, the chambers’ minority party leaders, said Republicans cause an education and political crisis by approving income tax cuts in 2013 that limited state revenues and included breaks for out-of-state corporations and wealthy individuals.
“Now it’s July 1, there’s no budget, no teacher pay raise and no clear path forward,” Hall said.