Greensboro, NC - Governor Pat McCrory has made it past the 100-day mark.
Wednesday, McCrory sat down for a one-on-one interview with WFMY News 2's Morgan Hightower to recap and lay out his legislative priorities.
He gave us ten minutes, but in that time, we were able to address Medicaid reform, restructuring the state's tax code, enhancing education and even legislation he says he'd never sign.
On reforming the tax code, McCrory says: "I think we are all within the same framework of what we want, and that's a lower income tax and a lower corporate tax, especially when we are competing with South Carolina, Virginia, or Tennessee," explained McCrory. "I think the big issues are going to be the other taxes that go along with it to make up the difference and whether it will be revenue neutral or not. I want it to be revenue neutral especially considering that just yesterday I found out we had another $80 million shortage in Medicaid funding just in the last two weeks, which is really making, it's going to make the Senate, the House and myself rewrite the budget because it's now over $300 million of cost-overruns due to very poor projections by the previous administration."
One tax proposal the General Assembly is considering would widen the sales tax base in North Carolina. McCrory says he wants the reform to be revenue neutral, meaning, "you'd have lower taxes on productivity and work and income, you'd have slightly higher taxes on things that you purchase that you aren't paying taxes for at this point in time." McCrory says it's a balancing act though. With a wider sales tax base would come lower income and corporate taxes.
"They'll pay lower taxes, they would pay lower taxes from the income that they receive from their employer. Isn't that good? That you have less taken out of your paycheck and you'd encourage people to actually work and get to keep more of their money," said McCrory.
READ: Pros and Cons of Changing North Carolina Tax System
McCrory says a change to Medicaid is vital to keeping for the future of other state agencies. "If we don't change, I'm concerned about the future of Medicaid in North Carolina being viable and having the money. Not only that, I'm concerned about the future of education, the future of our roads, the future of our basic needs and mental health because Medicaid right now is just sucking the money out of every other program in North Carolina, and we've got to get control of the cost, and we have to improve the quality of service. And if we continue to do it the same way, I'm concerned about those already getting Medicaid, and I'm concerned about the taxpayers of North Carolina."
McCrory says his focus is "on the economy, education and government efficiency. Anything outside that perimeter, I'm really not spending time on it because the people are caring about jobs, government efficiency and education, and that's what we as public officials and leaders ought to be trying to deal with."
This legislative session, there have been some controversial bills but also very questionable ones. McCrory says there are a few he thought wouldn't pass but was glad to see one bill die in the General Assembly.
"The [legislation] getting rid of motorcycle helmets," explains McCrory. "I would have never approved, and I am glad it died a natural death, which it deserved."
To hear the entire interview, click on the video in this story.
WFMY News 2