A test for McCrory

From an editorial Thursday in the (Greensboro) News & Record:

Before he runs for re-election next year, Gov. Pat McCrory is planning an important campaign this fall. Its outcome may predict how well he’ll fare in 2016.

The governor wants the legislature to put two bond proposals on the ballot in November of about $1.5 billion each, one for roads and the other infrastructure, including University of North Carolina facilities.

The work needs to be done to move the state forward. State Treasurer Janet Cowell says there is enough debt capacity to manage the new borrowing. If anything, the plan is relatively modest — although in the current political climate its success is not guaranteed.

In pushing for significant new investment, the governor is bucking the direction set by the Republican legislature. He has a tough sales job to get his bond measures on the ballot and then to win public approval. Failure at either step will weaken him politically as he enters an election year.

McCrory should press on, taking inspiration from one of his predecessors. In 1949, Gov. Kerr Scott persuaded a conservative legislature to put highway and school bonds on the ballot. Then he campaigned for them as he had for his own election the year before. The voters said yes. The money helped North Carolina lift itself from its backward status and begin a transformation to a more progressive and prosperous state.