House Speaker Thom Tillis said today House Republicans are ready to take up a raft of reform and other bills, now that the budget has cleared his chamber. But a new bill to restore federal jobless benefits to more than 37,000 North Carolinians is not on the agenda – for now.
Gov. Bev Perdue called on GOP leaders again yesterday to pass a "clean bill" - one without political manuevering - to change a legal formula that would allow extended federal benefits to resume.
“Which means the governor’s unwilling to compromise,” Tillis said. “And I think that’s unacceptable, and lacking leadership that I expect out of our chief executive for this state.”
Tillis says House leaders are willing to compromise, but not to simply comply with Perdue’s request. “The governor, right now, by that behavior on that particular bill, is holding hostage those people who deserve those benefits extensions, who could get those benefits extensions,” he said.
Tillis said he expects the formula change will be included as a provision in the Senate budget, but that measure wouldn't take effect until July 1st.
In the meantime, he said, “We would welcome any good-faith efforts on the governor’s part to step up and lead, and get us to a compromise to get these people their checks. But those folks that are waiting for those checks need to know it’s the governor’s inaction that’s preventing them from coming.”
On other topics, Tillis promised “stepped-up oversight” of state spending by the Government Operations committee during the interim between sessions. “I’ll be chairing that committee along with Senator Berger, and we will meet frequently. I’m not talking about just once a month. And we’ll be looking at how these budgets are implemented in local areas.”
And he also signaled the GOP could be stepping back from a big cut in the corporate tax rate, looking instead at broader-based tax relief “across the brackets.” House and Senate Finance committees are expected to meet jointly this week to formulate a tax cut package expected to top $200 million.
Watch Tillis’s unedited comments at right.