Stepping on toes: in surprise Asheville visit, McCrory defends policies

Gov. Pat McCrory spoke to the Council of Independent Business Owners this afternoon, asserting he was “stepping on some toes” to lower taxes and make the state run more like a business.

There was little notice of McCrory’s Aug. 26 appearance at Magnolia’s restaurant (the announcement from the governor’s office went out two hours before the event), but more than a dozen protesters still gathered across the street, criticizing the governor’s passage of voting restrictions, rollback of environmental regulations, and legislation that would take away the city’s water system (McCrory let the related bill pass without his signature).

Before speaking, McCrory made the rounds while the attendees ate their lunch.He thanked local officials like Buncombe County Commissioner Mike Fryar and joked about missing the Aug. 25 GoTopless rally in downtown Asheville.

McCrory devoted much of his remarks to economic matters, asserting, “We have to become more competitive.” He noted that his push to lower corporate and income tax is meant to help business and bring down North Carolina’s unemployment rate, still one of the highest in the nation.

“You and I know people who move out of state for six months and one day to avoid our taxes,” McCrory said. Through lower taxes, “I want them to [draw them back in and] have their permanent residence and business in North Carolina.”

He blasted back at protesters and the media, saying, “I’ve got every group protesting me, right and left” — though McCrory also said he supported their right to criticize him.

“This is too complex for the journalists,” McCrory said, to laughter from the CIBO members. “They don’t have economics degrees, they’ve not been in business. I respect them greatly, but you get it. This is what we have to do to rebuild our economy. It’s not easy. I empathize with the people being impacted, but my goal is to get these people back into jobs.”

McCrory particularly defended a controversial cut in unemployment benefits. He said that the state asked to lower the benefits to the levels of surrounding states, but the federal government refused, as its commitment to backing and extending unemployment benefits during the financial crisis required states to keep their benefits the same.

“Sometimes you have to take short-term pain for long-term results,” McCrory said. “Unemployment compensation was taxing you to death, to bankruptcy … our unemployment benefits were the ninth-most generous in the nation. You don’t read that in some of the newspapers.”

He also said that he planned to increase vocational education, judge colleges based on the amount of jobs they created, and introduce performance pay for teachers, but “the unions are stopping us from doing that.”

North Carolina does not have teachers’ unions.

Throughout, McCrory emphasized he was trying to get state government to take a “customer-service” approach and operate like a business, including more power to fire and demote employees.

“Almost every member of my cabinet comes from business,” he said.


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14 thoughts on “Stepping on toes: in surprise Asheville visit, McCrory defends policies

  1. bsummers

    They felt they had to sneak the Governor of the Great State Of North Carolina in the back door to avoid a handful of well-behaved protestors across the street from the front entrance.

    CIBO/Magnolia’s actually went through the charade of holding all the parking spots in front of the entrance for his entourage, and then pulling the barricades aside minutes before his arrival & looking up the street expectantly… only to have the SUVs pull around back for him to sneak into the building out of sight. wah wah wah wah waaaaaah…

    “Profiles in Courage” he ain’t.

  2. Lamont Cranston

    Gov. Pat “Pinocchio” McCrory lacks profiles in honesty, as well.

  3. Jonathan Wainscott

    So, government should run more like a business eh? OK. I’ll take that as a directive…

  4. timothypeck

    “North Carolina does not have teachers’ unions.”

    How clever Mr. Forbes is. He knows full well that the SEANC is the state’s equivalent of a union but he thinks he can take a swipe at a Republican with barrels of ink to spare, so, why not?

    8/26/13 8:38pm

    • Ed Kizer

      Seems like calling the SEANC “the state’s equivalent of a union” – is a real stretch. How do you justify this?

    • Jonathan Daniels

      Not even close to being true.

      The SEANC is not the equivalent of a union unless you think every Association in America is a union.

      Unions collectively bargain with their employers. They have contracts that govern management and themselves. The SEANC is a voluntary association that does not bargain on behalf of its membership. It promotes its membership and its goals, but that’s the extent of it.

      Would you consider the National Assocation of Realtors a union? What about the American Beverage Association?

      Bottom line – it’s not a union nor is it the equivalent of one. So feel free to disabuse yourself of that notion anytime you like.

  5. Mike

    Don’t worry, business owners/ people who have means. I got your back. And what’s good for you is good for me so as far as I can tell that’s good for everyone because everyone is subjective and we’re everyone that matters.

    There. I wrote his platform.

  6. kristine cole

    Colleges don’t create jobs. How do you judge a school based on something they don’t do and your legislators refuse to do?

  7. timothypeck

    The State Employees Association of North Carolina, a local division of the Service Employees International Union, has about 55,000 members and can lobby the legislature through its political action committee. The North Carolina Association of Educators, an affiliate of the National Education Association, advocates for teachers and offers free legal representation to appeal disciplinary actions.

  8. boatrocker

    The word sleazy comes to mind when I read about this guy’s tactics.

    Really? Running a government like a business? Last I checked, 9 out of 10 businesses go under (fail) in their first year. Doesn’t exactly sound like a sure thing, eh?

    It makes me wonder how those Greeks enjoyed the fruits of democracy because as we know, Adam Smith, the ‘godfather of capitalism’ wasn’t even born yet.

    How the hell did they manage to run a country, develop fancy math, philosophy, debate each other and write fine stories without a modern business model?

    Hopefully history will be the judge. Will the NCGOP’s sleazy policies last for thousands of years like the Greek contributions to the world without using a business model as their template?

    I can’t wait to build a time machine to travel say 2,000 years into the future to read a NC history textbook where ‘welfare queen’, ‘widespread voter fraud’, ‘feminazi’ and ‘the sinister gay agenda’ are still actually given credence.

    Finally, in browsing the SEANC site, I saw various commie liberal union thug-type ideas. Among them were “Pay, health care, retirement security and workplace rights”. If that equals a teacher’s union, then I’m all for it.

  9. Harriet McGuire

    When I worked at US embassies abroad, we used to send international visitors to NC to study the success of the research triangle and role universities played in nurturing it. Now we send pro-democracy visitors to witness Moral Mondays and the need for citizens’ eternal vigilance to protect their rights. Congrats to your governor for his fine role advancing the state’s reputation as a fine place to do business and raise your children!

  10. urasillyidiot

    Advocating and lobbying to the legislature isn’t the same leverage as striking and walking out on the job after trying to be civil through a mediator working on your behalf. What exactly are you justifying, Peck?

    Sounds like you simply have a bone to pick.

    • bsummers

      Propping up the union boogie-man is just part of getting North Carolina voters to continue to vote against their own economic interests.

      It doesn’t matter if it’s a lie, if in fact there are no real unions in NC, so long as you can scare people to the polls to vote for people who will drive down wages and benefits for working families.

  11. sharpleycladd

    Mr Peck doesn’t know what unions are. Mr Peck doesn’t know how to tell the truth. One or two of these statements are true.

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