North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory made a surprise appearance at the quarterly meeting of the state’s public-private economic development board Friday morning, asking for support for economic financial incentives and his $3 billion transportation and infrastructure bond package.
He also told board members, who are largely business people from around the state, that he’d made headway in showing the legislature that the public backed those proposals.
McCrory said that public support, which he referred to as “surveys,” may be set back after yesterday’s veto of a bill that would have permitted magistrates to refuse to marry same-sex couples and more vetoes he said were on the way.
“That [survey information] may change after yesterday’s veto and today’s veto and two other vetoes coming up,” McCrory said. “And I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do.”
Shortly after the morning meeting, McCrory’s office announced he vetoed the “ag-gag bill,” which had been opposed by animal-rights groups and AARP and would have penalized whistle-blowers who exposed wrongdoings at companies they work at.
When asked afterwards about his comments about future vetoes, McCrory would not expand on his comments.
Another controversial bill making its way through the legislature that would require a 72-hour waiting period for abortions, and require doctors to send patients’ ultrasounds to the state health agency.
A list of other bills on McCrory’s desk is here.
At Friday morning’s meeting, McCrory also had sharp criticism for his Republican colleagues in the legislature, where his bond proposal is getting a lukewarm reception.
McCrory wants to put the proposal, which would fund a myriad of transportation and state government projects around the state, before voters. The proposal needs legislative backing to get on the ballot.
“We have support in the legislature but it is very soft support,” McCrory said, adding that the legislature was busy with budget proposals. “Frankly, they’re scared of their own shadow.”
He also said that he would play “hardball” and wouldn’t be deterred by opposition from those in his political party.
“I’m not going to let three or four people in the legislature block progress in North Carolina,” McCrory said. “I don’t care what party they’re from.”
Friday morning’s quarterly meeting of the economic development meeting is a public meeting, but N.C. Policy Watch was the only media member, as well as the only member of the public, to attend the meeting at Red Hat’s headquarters in downtown Raleigh.
The public-private partnership was established last year by the state legislature, and transferred the tourism and business recruitment division of the state Commerce Department to the quasi-public group. It’s largely funded with public money ($16 million) but is on the hook to raise $1.25 million from private funders in its first year.
The group has raised $830,000 so far from private contributors, with several other gifts promised and about $250,000 more to be raised by October, said John Lassiter, a Charlotte attorney and chairman of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.
Want to hear for yourself? McCrory’s comments about the legislature and upcoming vetoes begin at the 4:40 minute mark:
Note: This post has been changed from the original to more accurately reflect McCrory’s comments about upcoming vetoes. He referred to the vetoes in the context of how “surveys” from the public may change in light of the vetoes, not his relationship with the legislature as initially reported. We apologize for the inconvenience.