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McCrory talks up priorities in NC State of State

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 18, 2013 at 9:24 pm •  Published: February 18, 2013

"He talks about wanting to build the economy, but two of the easiest things he can do to help get the economy going, he's already announced he's going to reject," Senate Minority Whip Josh Stein, D-Wake, said after the speech.

Stein said the governor's address lacked policy details. For example, McCrory said his budget would have a plan to invest in repairs and renovations for state property and computer systems but didn't give amounts. His two-year spending proposal isn't expected until next month.

McCrory acknowledged he's already ruffled some feathers.

"I am not doing it to cause pain, but to get us to stand up and recognize we must solve our serious problems now to prevent pain for future generations," he said.

McCrory said improving public education isn't necessarily about money. "We must now demand results," the governor said, particularly around equipping students for good jobs businesses can't fill.

In a response taped before McCrory's speech, House Minority Leader Larry Hall, D-Durham, said Republicans have cut teachers the past two years. "We must, however, make sure that reform is not just a code word for continuing to cut more and more from our schools," he added.

Republicans, who now hold two-thirds of the seats in the Legislature, were pleased with the remarks of their new ally in the Executive Mansion. Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, said he welcomed McCrory's comments about making the state welcoming to business and economic growth.

"I think Gov. McCrory hit a home run with that one," Rucho said.

House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, said in a statement that McCrory "laid out a positive vision for North Carolina" that House members hope to help him carry out.

McCrory asked legislators to pass legislation that would restore money for drug treatment courts eliminated recently by Republican legislators and increase punishments for people who make methamphetamines. He also said the Department of Public Safety would work with local law enforcement to fight drug "cartel rings" that he said are in North Carolina.

He also asked lawmakers to give school districts flexibility to use North Caroilna Education Lottery funds for school technology and virtual learning and said money should be shifted away from what he called the "bloated and frankly annoying" lottery advertising and administrative costs to education. State law limits lottery advertising expenses to no more than 1 percent of total lottery revenues.