Tight NC budget sets aside extra money for new governor

Posted July 13, 2012

— Republican legislative leaders expect fellow Republican Pat McCrory to win the governor's race, and Democrats say the budget they wrote this year hangs out a big welcome sign for him.

The budget gives the next governor a bigger inauguration budget and more state jobs for political appointees than in the past. Although GOP leaders say the changes weren't intended specifically for McCrory, Democrats call it a waste of taxpayer money.

In 2008, Democratic lawmakers set aside $420,000 for Gov. Beverly Perdue's transition and inauguration. Even with the tight budget this year, where cuts were made to education and health care, lawmakers set aside $750,000 for the inauguration and transition.

"I can't imagine it could be anything other than political," said Rep. Deborah Ross, D-Wake.

Ross said Republican leaders rolled out the red carpet because they expect McCrory to be the next governor. He leads Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, the Democratic nominee, in the polls.

"I would say that it'll be a coronation," she said.

Likewise, the incoming governor will have up to 1,000 state government positions under his control to reward supporters and political operatives. Perdue was allowed to replace up to 440 state workers with friends and allies four years ago.

"I think you could call it a crony employment act, for sure," Ross said.

Sen. Richard Stevens, R-Wake, who helped craft the budget, said the changes weren't political.

"We know there's going to be a transition. The intention was to give the governor flexibility," Stevens said. "There was no coordination with any candidate from either party."

Both McCrory and Dalton pledged not to use the extra transition money and put $330,000 back into the General Fund budget. North Carolina flag, NC flag, state flag, N.C. flag McCrory, Dalton say they don't want extra inauguration money

McCrory said he didn't ask for the funding change and said that he was unaware of it, although members of his campaign staff said they were told about it in advance.

"I've never had a conversation with regard to the issues that you've brought up," he said. "No one's asked me for my input on the transition fund, and I'm unaware of the details. My focus is on winning the election."

Dalton said that, like McCrory, he wasn't consulted about the appropriation for the inauguration and transition. He said the extra money isn't needed.

"That money could be used for education, for economic development. That's where it should be used," he said. "We immediately called upon the legislature to amend the budget and put that money to better use."

Dalton said he has no doubt the changes were made anticipating a McCrory victory in November.

"We're going to surprise them on that," he said. "It's bad policy, regardless of party politics. It's just bad policy, and they should not have done it."


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  • judithfergerson Jul 13, 2012


  • geosol Jul 13, 2012

    Looks like our REPUBLICAN friends have set aside PLENTY of money for their friends that want to bring hydraulic fracturing to our great state instead of listening to the experts who cautioned against moving forward with it without understanding how it would work in North Carolina. Yay wingers!

  • Earth Brooks Jul 13, 2012

    "lol . . . uh huh. Anyone surprised?"

    Surprised that the GOP is already showing evidence that they'll be bigger spenders than the Democrats? Not at all, and you should'nt be either.

  • faperrigo Jul 13, 2012

    One Laura's definition of 'patronage'may mean 'better leadership and more competence'. One of the things that must change- no matter who is governor- is executive branch jobs. Look at how Employment Security was run the last couple of years. Or the state's Medicaid division. Or DMV. It will be interesting to see if competent people will be found to replace patronage in many areas. Of course, government jobs may depend on who is in charge. I know of one county that has high a high number of state jobs that operated like the mob. You had to be registered as a Dem- yes they checked- or you did not get a state job of any level in that county. Kudos for Dalton and McCrory pledging to not spend all of that inauguration money. It'd be nice if ALL state agencies, including DPI, would pledge the same.

  • geosol Jul 13, 2012

    Sure glad the REPUBLICANS were so successful with that "jobs, Jobs, JOBS!!!" lie that they used to get elected that they were able to use an improving U.S. economy with NO NEW JOBS IN NORTH CAROLINA to try to help out their little corporate yes man candidates.

  • issymayake Jul 13, 2012

    lol . . . uh huh. Anyone surprised?

  • dirtydozen431 Jul 13, 2012

    Do the Dems have any u-haul money for Bev or has it all been spent on lawyer fees.

  • redapace Jul 13, 2012

    "The budget gives the next governor a bigger inauguration budget and more state jobs for political appointees than in the past."

    MORE government jobs!

  • Sherlock Jul 13, 2012

    whatelseisnew, that is a great idea but individuals that are elected to these offices are very use to spending very large amounts of other individuals money regardless of the party..so we just have to let it goes because no one will make that type of move...

  • geosol Jul 13, 2012

    Let's give the REPUBLICAN legislature some credit here, good people. They have made sure that North Carolina's public education system will soon become LAST IN THE NATION for funding. Because throwing more money at a real problem doesn't solve it, but taking away MILLIONS will clearly fix everything!! Bigger class sizes, less competent teachers (who are willing to work for less money), and anti-science right wing curriculums are sure to fix the problem. Yay wingers!!