Under the Dome

McCrory noncommittal on Cooper's S&P-settlement spending ideas

Dome isn’t saying it’s political or anything, but when Attorney General Roy Cooper announced North Carolina’s share of a multi-state settlement with Standard and Poor’s on Tuesday, he had some ideas about where the money ought to go: education and public safety.

The state will receive $21.5 million. More than $2.1 million of it is in fines that will go to a special state fund that benefits schools.

Cooper, who is expected to seek the Democratic nomination for governor, recommended the rest of the money be used to resurrect the N.C. Teaching Fellows program – which steered students into the teaching profession but was phased out by the legislature – and to increase pay for scientists at the State Crime Lab, which is losing personnel to higher paying jobs.

Cooper called on the governor and the General Assembly to spend the money that way.

Gov. Pat McCrory issued a statement that afternoon hailing the settlement funds coming into state coffers. But he made it clear that money is also needed for transportation, public health and job-creation in the $20 billion budget.

“We also welcome the new attention toward a decade-old problem in our state crime labs,” McCrory added, with perhaps a dig at either the 14-year attorney general or the formerly Democratic-controlled General Assembly, or both.

Ultimately, the legislature will decide budget priorities.

Senate and House Democrats have introduced a bill to restore the Teaching Fellows program.