Under the Dome

McCrory: Lawmakers wrong to put policy items in budget debate

Gov. Pat McCrory said in an interview it is wrong that his major jobs plan is now a part of ongoing negotiations over the state budget, saying the issue has him “the most impatient” six months after the current lawmaking session began.

McCrory opened this year calling for resolution on a jobs and incentives plan within weeks. That hasn’t happened as lawmakers have advanced competing ideas.

The issue is now included in the budget talks, which have a deadline of Aug. 14.

“They’re putting that into the budget and I think that’s very improper,” McCrory said in an extended interview for the Domecast, a weekly podcast on government and politics produced by The News & Observer and The Insider state government news service.

“I think we’re putting ... too much policy in the budget and not separating that from the budget. Those are the things a lot of legislators, and myself, said that we wouldn’t do because we criticized the Democrats for doing that for the last 25 years.”

McCrory added: “I was very critical of the Democrats for doing that. I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t criticize my fellow Republicans for repeating that same mistake. And that is putting too much policy in the budget and using that policy as a negotiating tool. That’s not the way to run efficient, effective and transparent government.”

The Senate’s plan also includes tax changes that could shift money among counties – a tax plan that McCrory said he cannot support.

“I don’t think there’s a compromise there,” the governor said.

McCrory called it the “most unconservative thing I’ve seen presented in the legislature in the last decade.”

“It’s a redistribution of wealth,” he said.

One of the key supporters, top budget writer Sen. Harry Brown, a Jacksonville Republican, has said the plan to change how sales taxes are allocated among counties is aimed at better helping struggling rural areas.

“That is to help balance some of those counties that may give up a little bit in the transition,” Brown said last month. “That’s what took so long to get this out – trying to find a balance where we can help the rural counties but still try to protect the urban counties as much as possible.”

The full interview can be found by clicking here for the latest Domecast episode.