By Brad Crone, President of Campaign Connections and NC SPIN Panelist
As the legislative session drags on, the Governor is seeing his political stock on the rise.
In January, when the General Assembly convened, the Senate went to great lengths to show the newly installed Governor just who runs things in Raleigh.
It was a soft-glove with a light flip of the wrist glancing across the Governor’s chin, but the Senate let McCrory and his administration fully understand that they were the “King Dogs” in Raleigh. The issue was Medicaid expansion. The Senate had no intention on waiting for input from the Governor or his new Secretary of Health and Human Services.
In an lopsided vote, the Senate quickly dispatched the bill and clearly showed the Governor how they intended to run things this year.
Fast forward to the present.
The Senate is under attack for their budget and tax reform plan. Intensive lobbying efforts are underway from senior citizens, teachers, hospitals, realtors and non-profit groups. The Senate leadership fumbled the tax reform roll-out and House members are beginning to realize the political risks involved in a major tax overhaul.
In the House, on a daily basis there are growing fractures between various groups who are jockeying to see just who will succeed Speaker Tillis. Edgar Starns, Tim Moffitt, Tom Murray, Mike Hager, Tim Moore, David Lewis and Ruth Samuelson all have support groups positioning for the 2015 leadership elections.
It’s in this vacuum that the Governor can elevate his political clout – being the consensus builder, the deal-maker.
The Republicans can ill-afford to have so many funding groups shooting at them. At some point, there has to be a deal-maker, who can bring all the parties to the table and cut a deal.
The Governor and his Budget Director Art Pope could put together a compromise plan that enables the Republican Legislature to pass meaningful tax reform; reduce corporate and personal income taxes without drawing the ire of all the interest groups that are currently shooting at them. The “go-slow” approach on tax reform would also enable the Republicans to campaign on tax reform for the next several legislative election cycles.
Furthermore, it would protect revenue continuity – something budget officials have been warning Legislators about since tax reform discussion began in earnest.
The stage is being set that will allow the Governor to play the role of the deal-maker. It will be a considerable boost to his political clout. It will force the Legislature to come to his table and his position.
The question is – will the Governor lead or will he just salute?