Republican Gov. Pat McCrory stood by his threatened veto of a Senate budget bill during a Charlotte radio interview Monday and compared GOP Senate leaders to past Democratic leaders Marc Basnight and Tony Rand.
“I think some of my Senate Republicans, when they got the majority, they’re trying to replicate (the Democrats),” the governor told WFAE’s Mike Collins. “That’s frankly the culture I wanted to change. I don’t think two to three legislators ought to have that much power.”
The governor criticized Senate GOP proposals to raise teacher pay by 11 percent while cutting teacher assistants and Medicaid. McCrory has sided with a House proposal to raise teacher pay 6 percent while leaving teacher assistants in place.
The Senate plan, he told Collins, is “just not financially reasonable.”
He also chided the Senate for bottling up some measures in committee. He singled out the so-called puppy mill bill, a favored initiative of the governor and his wife, Ann.
The House last year passed a measure setting minimum standards for people who keep at least 10 female dogs primarily to breed and sell offspring as pets. The bill passed the House overwhelmingly last May but has been stuck in a Senate committee ever since.
“That’s an example,” McCrory said. “Even the puppy mill bill The Senate ought to vote on it and let senators vote on it. But the leadership is keeping that from happening. And that’s unacceptable.”
Last week McCrory threatened to veto a Senate budget that included the higher teacher raises and cuts to teacher assistants and Medicaid.
In a statement Monday, Senate Majority Leader Phil Berger responded to the governor’s comments.
“The governor and Senate have honest but resolvable differences over the state budget – these differences do not warrant personal criticisms of one another.”
On the airport
In the radio interview, McCrory also reaffirmed his belief that Charlotte Douglas International Airport should stay in city hands and that politicians should “stay the heck out.”
The airport, long run by the city, has been a source of contention since state lawmakers last year created an independent authority and then a commission to run it.
The matter is tied up in court as both sides await a ruling by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Though the House and Senate each approved a bill last month that clarifies the commission is a city agency, it’s still uncertain whether the City Council or the new commission will end up in charge of the airport.
“I think it should belong to Charlotte,” McCrory told Collins.
Collins asked the former seven-term Charlotte mayor why local lawmakers initially proposed the authority.
“They were asked to by members of the business community,” McCrory said, “because some of the Charlotte politicians were getting too active, frankly, in the running of the airport.
“I don’t think the state politicians ought to do the same The state politicians and the local politicians ought to stay the heck out of the airport.”