The N.C. Democratic Party says Gov. Pat McCrory is “using taxpayer funding” to campaign for re-election because his office installed posters of the governor in the lobby of a government office building.
The posters appeared recently at the Administration Building, where some of the governor’s staff has offices. They feature McCrory at public events, and two of the photos include a poster that reads “teacher pay to $50K.” The posters do not include information or logos from McCrory’s campaign.
“McCrory’s propaganda posters look something like they were created by Donald Trump himself, prominently featuring McCrory himself and a misleading message,” Democratic Party executive director Kimberly Reynolds said at a news conference Monday afternoon. “Gov. McCrory is using taxpayer money to campaign for re-election.”
McCrory spokesman Josh Ellis defended the posters in a brief statement Monday afternoon. “President Obama and governors around the country have photos in administration buildings displaying official activities, which is entirely appropriate,” he said.
Since signing this year’s state budget, McCrory has frequently said he has raised the average teacher salary to $50,000. That figure includes salary supplements that local school districts add to teachers’ base pay. The state’s teacher pay scale this year only offers salaries above $50,000 to teachers with 25 years of experience or more. Teachers with 20 years of experience got a 3.2 percent raise to $48,000, while starting teacher pay remains at $35,000.
McCrory has used the $50,000 number in campaign materials as well as at his official, government-sponsored events. The photos in the Administration Building show McCrory at events sponsored by the governor’s office. He used the “teacher pay to $50K” slogan again Monday while visiting a high school in Catawba County.
“As teachers and students go back to school, I’m proud of what we have accomplished to improve education in North Carolina and to boost average teacher pay to more than $50,000 for the first time in state history,” McCrory said in a news release sent by his office to highlight the visit.
The Administration Building display replaced posters for movies filmed in North Carolina that had adorned the lobby walls for years. Reynolds noted that during McCrory’s tenure, the legislature eliminated a tax incentive program that drew major film productions, replacing it with a less generous grant fund.
“Gov. McCrory had to replace the film posters with misleading political propaganda because he eliminated the tax credit that brought all of those movies to North Carolina in the first place,” she said.
After the Raleigh Agenda first reported on the posters on Thursday, one of the photos of McCrory was briefly removed later in the day. A News & Observer photographer found a nature photo on the floor near where the McCrory photo had been. But on Monday, the McCrory photo was back, and two other photos of McCrory had been added on easels nearby.