Governor Pat McCrory is busy giving year-end interviews to local television stations, talking about what his administration accomplished in 2014 and what his priorities are for next year. There have been few surprises in the interviews, mostly the usual talking points about the “Carolina Comeback” and how McCrory is stepping on toes all over town.
Here are seven questions that local television anchors ought to ask McCrory when they are invited to the mansion for the year-end one on one talks with the Governor.
1) You have said many times that additional teacher raises and other priorities would depend on how much money is available next year. Revised estimates show that the tax package passed in 2013 will cost at least $700 million this year and it could rise to as high as $1 billion. You said in your State of the State address in 2013 that tax reform must be revenue neutral. Why did you change your mind and sign a tax package that cost $700 million and is it time to revisit some of the breaks given to folks at the top of the economic ladder?
2) Speaking of the 2013 tax reform, the package also ended the historic tax credit program that creates thousands of jobs in the state. Your administration has encouraged state lawmakers to keep the tax credit program, but why did you sign a bill that abolished it?
3) You said recently that your administration was the only one in history to sue Duke Energy but you never mention that the suit was filed to block a lawsuit filed by environmental groups to force the company to clean up the leaking coal ash ponds before the Dan River spill. Your administration settled the suit and only required Duke to pay a $99,000 fine. Do you regret intervening and protecting the company from a lawsuit that would have forced it to clean up the ash ponds earlier?
4) Twenty-eight states have expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and provided health care coverage for millions of people. Several of those states have Republican governors. Four other states with Republican governors are now working with Washington to expand the program. Why is North Carolina not aggressively pursuing Medicaid expansion that would create 25,000 jobs and help many rural hospitals, in addition to providing health care for 500,000 low-income adults?
5) You have appeared at rallies for “school choice” and signed a budget that created the new voucher scheme that directs taxpayer money to unaccountable private and religious schools. We have learned that many of the schools teach students wildly incorrect versions of history that maintain for example that humans and dinosaurs co-existed. Are you ok with tax dollars paying to teach students things are not true?
6) You recently joined a lawsuit against President Obama’s executive orders on immigration that removed the fear of deportation for more than 5 million undocumented immigrants, most of them with children born in the United States. Were the similar actions taken by President Reagan and President George W. Bush also wrong and how do you respond to scholars at the conservative Federalist Society that say President Obama has the constitutional authority to issue the orders?
7) You like to say that you have stepped on the toes of the Right and the Left in your first two years in office. Your opposition to many progressive policies is clear but can you name three examples of how you have stepped on the toes of the Right?