McCrory won’t address HB2 in announcing budget

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory on Friday unveiled a proposed budget that includes a 5 percent raise for teachers but no new taxes or fees.

McCrory and State Budget Director Drew Heath introduced the $22.3 billion budget Friday morning at a news conference. The budget would raise spending 2.8 percent.

“This does not satisfy every interest group in North Carolina that has many needs,” McCrory said. But, he said, it does affect what he believes are the priorities for North Carolina.

The budget will go to the General Assembly for approval.

Asked specifically if House Bill 2 would have any impact on the budget, McCrory quickly said, “No.”

He paused, started to answer another question, and then said, “It’s a $22 billion budget. We have 10 million people in North Carolina. It’s a pretty massive budget and our revenue projections are pretty consistent.”

Asked in a follow-up if he anticipated any changes in House Bill 2, McCrory said, “I think I’ve, um, given plenty of comments on that question and videotapes and TV and radio interviews and my comments remain the same.”

On Thursday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver indicated the league would not keep the 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte if North Carolina law remained the same.

Asked for his response, McCrory said, “I read the specific quotes, and with those quotes, that’s consistent with the dialogue I’ve had with them. So my previous comments remain the same with that.”

McCrory had previously said he planned to raise teacher pay by 5 percent.

Heath said the details of the teacher pay proposal would be presented Wednesday as well.

Heath, in outlining specifics of the budget, said the state was in a healthy situation financially and that 281 people a day are moving to North Carolina.

“Our state is growing and so is our economy,” Heath said.

Heath said the state budget will grow by 2.8 percent and will be a balanced budget.

Part of the spending, he said, will go to teachers. Teachers will get a 5 percent raise and teachers also will get a 3.5 percent bonus that will be titled toward rewarding veteran teachers.

“I’m very proud that the governor has stayed committed to our teachers,” Heath said.

The move to reward teachers is significant and has political implications in an election year. Some teacher organizations have been critical of McCrory for not doing more to pay teachers a better wage, and the state has seen many teachers leave the profession or move to other states for work.

Heath said the budget will include raises for other state workers, including correctional officers and employees at SBI, assistant district attorneys and ALE agents.

The budget also includes funding technology to detect cellphones in prisons.

He said the detailed budget will be presented Wednesday morning.

STATEMENTS ON THE BUDGET

“Gov. McCrory’s announcements today recognize the value of the University of North Carolina system to our state by recommending strategic investments in our students, faculty and staff. Our top budget priority this session is faculty and staff pay, and we are pleased that the governor is proposing to invest in recruiting and retaining top faculty and to recognize the contributions of University employees. 

“These investments are an important part of the University’s focus on improving accountability and growing North Carolina’s economy through increased educational attainment and student success. We appreciate the governor’s commitment to making the right investments in the right priorities for the future of the UNC system, and we look forward to working with the Governor and the General Assembly throughout the budget process this spring.”

_ Margaret Spellings, UNC system president

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