Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca has a blunt assessment of Gov. Pat McCrory’s role in state budget negotiations.
The Asheville Citizen-Times published an interview Monday with Apodaca, a Republican from Hendersonville and a powerful ally of Senate leader Phil Berger. The paper asked Apodaca if the governor would have a part in budget talks between the House and Senate.
“No,” Apodaca replied. “The governor doesn’t play much of a role in anything.”
McCrory has, however, been talking with legislators about the budget. He met behind closed doors with both the House and Senate Republican caucuses last week. Berger told reporters that the topics included “the budget, economic development and the bonds.” McCrory’s budget director, Lee Roberts, was present for the meetings.
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Apodaca also criticized the House for its budget, which has a larger increase in spending that the Senate plan. “Pure and simple, the House went a little crazy with the budget,” he said.
He indicated that the fiscal restraint relates to the uncertainty over Medicaid. The House and Senate have competing proposals for addressing the program’s growing cost.
“We’ve drawn a line in the sand in the Senate, saying we’re not touching anything else going forward until we know about Medicaid,” Apodaca said. “It is the top priority.”