Gov. Pat McCrory continued to issue stern warnings Tuesday about the direction lawmakers are taking the state budget.
“We have some very serious concerns,” McCrory said after the Council of State meeting. (See video below.)
The Senate approved its $21.2 billion spending plan Saturday and House lawmakers began its budget writing Tuesday. McCrory declined to highlight specific areas of concern but said he would soon.
With the Senate’s stance, however, McCrory said compromise in the end may prove difficult.
“It’s not going to be easy because there are some tough decisions we all have to make and we got every interest group in North Carolina competing against each other for their own particularly interests,” he said.
The Republican chief executive said he would “fight” for his budget proposal, suggesting that the Senate’s is not sustainable or affordable.
“I’m going to fight for the things our budget stands for because I think our budget is one that is affordable, I think it is sustainable and I think it is a budget that improves education and the health care of our citizens,” he said.
Senate budget writers note that in the area of Medicaid their budget provides more money to avoid a shortfall next year and doesn’t use one-time money for permanent budget items.
McCrory’s remarks represent one of the few times he’s spoken out in Raleigh about his concerns, but the governor said he is traveling the state making his case. He criticized the media for focusing more on the “Moral Monday” protests.
On one budget provision, McCrory’s administration appears to agree with the Senate’s budget plan: the transfer of the State Bureau of Investigation out of the Attorney General’s Office to within the Department of Public Safety.
McCrory said Public Safety Secretary Frank Perry has “strongly recommended” the move, even though the governor opposed it a year ago. McCrory said he is still reviewing it.
The transfer comes as Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper campaigns for governor in 2016 and his office assists in an investigation of the state environmental agency’s relationship with Duke Energy in past years regarding coal ash.