Pat McCrory made it very clear yesterday that he’s no fan of several bills being debated by the General Assembly. It seems like the governor has rediscovered his urban moderate philosophy. He’s gone so far as to say he “won’t sign” several of them. There is, of course, a distinction between not signing something and actually vetoing legislation. The governor lacks a pocket veto and if he takes no action on the bill, it becomes law anyway.
Some of the bills he won’t be signing include:
Sales Tax Redistribution Bill. Would change the formula for the way sales tax revenue is distributed throughout the state. Currently, the formula favors large, urban counties. It’s possible McCrory could sign the bill if it’s substantially modified. Right now, about half of the state’s municipalities would lose money and even sponsor Harry Brown says there’s going to be some changes.
NC Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This bill is almost identical to the law in Indiana which ignited a firestorm of controversy from gay activists and clickbait media sites. Progressives are warning of economic consequences should the bill pass. It’s not something McCrory wants to get tangled up in.
Wake/Greensboro Redistricting Bills. Unlike the others, McCrory won’t even have the opportunity to veto this one, as they won’t come to his desk. Being local bills, the governor lacks the power to do anything about them. But it works politically to speak out against them as even Republicans are wary about the legislature intervening into the affairs of local government.
Dix Park Renegotiation. McCrory hasn’t talked about this one but it’s very difficult to see him signing it. It’s a bill filed in the State Senate that would effectively void the state’s sale of Dix Park to the City of Raleigh, in order to sell it for a higher price. Because McCrory was a key player in the negotiation with Raleigh, going back on the contract would be bad optics, to say the least, and it’s said that the governor wants a park because it would provide yet another place to walk his dog, Moe. It’s worth noting that this bill hasn’t even passed the Senate and could well die in committee.
What these bills have in common – and why McCrory has been so vocal against them – is that they all to some extent anger voters in the state’s urban corridors. The religion bill offends their sense of justice. The tax bill offends their sense of self-preservation. And the redistricting and Dix Park bills offend their ideas of good government.
The strategy for liberal groups is obvious. Pressure McCrory incessantly to veto the bills, not just not sign them. Of course, even if he does veto them, there’s a good chance the General Assembly will be able to override him on at least some.
In related news, the new High Point University poll shows Gov. McCrory at 46/38 approval. That’s almost no change from last month, when he was at 48/38. It’s worth noting that High Point consistently shows McCrory with a higher approval rating than other pollsters. No matter which poll you look at, though, he’s at less than 50% approval, meaning he’ll have to navigate the divide between urban and rural North Carolina, moderates and conservatives, in order to win reelection.
John Wynne is the “conservative voice” at PoliticsNC, where he also provides polling analysis and commentary on legislative campaigns. When not writing about politics, he enjoys gardening and listening to opera. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.