by Joe Mavretic
For the past four years, a few NC SPIN panelists have advocated a governor who wanted to lead a good executive branch-not just another education governor. Governor McCrory’s proposed budget is another signal that we finally have one. His proposal stays within realistically expected revenues. It puts a little aside for emergencies. It moves toward an acceptable balance between all the activities supported by our state. No agency in the executive branch gets hurt too badly and there do not appear to be any favorites. State government needs a good house-clearing about every twenty-five years and this budget is a step in that direction.
There are some intriguing political implications in this budget. For openers, it pulls the rug from under critics who vilified the governor for appointing Art Pope as his deputy. This budget is one for the state’s needs at this time and not one that emphasizes a rabid partisan agenda. It supports the House of Representatives position on eugenics compensation and should signal a symbolic Republican Party correction for a Democratic Party mistake. The governor’s budget suggests that a reordering of education priorities is underway. The Democratically controlled education priorities were: University, Public Schools then Community College. The proposed budget moves toward Public Schools, Community College then University. McCrory’s budget slams the door on House and Senate Democratic Caucus leaders’ carping. McCrory’s budget does not anticipate legislative actions on tax reforms. It hammers the notion that it continues to cut education. It is exactly what McCrory promised during his campaign-a reasoned, business-like approach to government. Now the question is: Will the General Assembly follow the governor’s lead or will political egos create more adversaries for Republicans than they can handle at this time? McCrory’s poll numbers will not suffer from his proposed budget and he does not seek reelection (or election) in 2014. Smart folks follow a good leader.
Joe Mavretic is former House Speaker and an NC Spin Panelist