Republican governor Pat McCrory held his first State of the State address Monday night in Raleigh. In his message to a joint session of the General Assembly, he said the three main focuses of his administration are economy, education, and the efficiency of state government services.
The former Charlotte mayor said our state is no longer going to take federal money without knowing how to pay back.
"Our government like working families throughout our state must first pay off its debt," said McCrory about the $2.5 billion the state owes the federal government for unemployment benefits.
McCrory plans to sign House Bill 4 Tuesday that would accelerate the debt repayment by raising taxes and cutting unemployment benefits.
Hours before giving his address, McCrory signed his first bill into law since taking office early last month. The bill will place more emphasis on vocational education and will allow high school students to get training and earn diplomas with endorsements that show a student is ready for work, college or both.
McCrory said instead of focusing the debate only on the budget, we now must demand results.
"Education is no longer just about spending money on bricks and mortar," McCrory said in his address. "The power to improve education and deliver real results is at our fingertips."
McCrory's plan to reform education includes building partnerships to share resources and teachers. In his address, he noted that graduation rates improve with technology.
McCrory said he would seek legislation to allow school districts to use more lottery revenues for technology and virtual learning classrooms.
"This plan lacks accountability and would allow out of state corporations to create online, for profit, virtual charter schools," House Democratic Minority Leader Larry Hill said in the democratic response following McCrory's address Monday night.
Hill also responded to McCrory's tax reform by stating his bill will only expand our sales tax. Hill said we cannot support any tax reform plan that doesn't pass a simple fairness.
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