Governor McCrory Delivers State of the State Address
Republican Governor Pat McCrory gave his first State of the State Address Monday evening, in what he called a sobering assessment of the state of North Carolina.
McCrory said his new administration will focus on the economy, education and the efficiency of state government services.
Beginning with efficiency, McCrory said his administration has been reviewing the budget, and there are no new monies for the coming fiscal year. He said the state needs to pay off its debt, starting with the 2.5 billion dollars the state owes the federal government for unemployment benefits. McCrory announced that he'll sign House Bill 4 Tuesday, which aims to reduce the debt quicker, but will reduce both the amount and duration of unemployment benefits a jobless worker can claim.
On education, McCrory recommended legislation to reallocate money away from the advertising and administration cost of the lottery commission, and use that to help students gain access to technology.
Finally, McCrory insisted that it's time to overhaul North Carolina's tax system, saying that it was written in the 1930's and no longer applies to the modern economy. He outlined the criteria he wants in an updated tax system: "Lower rates on personal income and businesses to be more competitive, at least with our next-door neighbors. Close special interest loopholes to make our system more fair and transparent. It must be revenue neutral. It must be implemented systematically and strategically, to ensure that we don't put at risk business confidence or crucial revenue needed for services to our citizens."
McCrory made the comments Monday night to a joint session of the General Assembly in Raleigh. House Democratic Leader Larry Hall gave the minority response in a pre-recorded statement.