By: - July 15, 2016 12:04 pm

Follies-spotlight400McCrory claims credit for longstanding bond rating

The folks in Governor Pat McCrory’s office can’t seem to get the news releases out fast enough these days. There’s a statement from the governor on almost everything and of course everything positive in North Carolina is the result of his leadership.

Thursday the office cranked out a release touting the news that the major bond rating agencies have assigned an AAA rating to the first issuance of bonds under the Connect NC bonds approved by the voters in May.

And of course the top rating is because of McCrory. Here’s the quote from the governor in the release.

“Our pro-growth economic policies, coupled with a long history of responsible financial management, have positioned North Carolina as one of only ten states with a pristine AAA bond rating from all three major rating agencies.”

North Carolina has had an AAA bond rating for decades. It is not attributable to McCrory’s “pro-growth policies.”

And about that “long history of responsible management.” That includes many years before McCrory took office including when he was campaigning against Democrats in control in Raleigh and calling them irresponsible with the state’s finances.

It’s true that McCrory hasn’t damaged the state’s bond rating. That’s hardly a news release that his office would send out in an election year, that he hasn’t messed up the rating that the Democrats built and maintained for all those years, but it would refreshing to see.

McCrory supporters were also busy this week touting news that CNBC ranked North Carolina the fifth best state in the country for business. McCrory’s folks neglected to mention that the state ranked higher overall in the CNBC business index during the administration of Gov. Beverly Perdue, McCrory’s predecessor in office.

McCrory’s office also forgot to point out that the CNBC ranking specifically mentioned that HB2 had dragged down the ranking some.

That would be the same HB2 that McCrory keeps saying is having no negative effects on the state.

Misleading doublespeak on policy body cameras

McCrory also made news recently for signing legislation that prevents the public from seeing video from police body cameras and even makes it difficult for people in the video to access the footage if the police don’t want to show it to them.

They would be forced to hire a lawyer and go to court to make the police department release the video, a ridiculous requirement that isn’t going to do much to build trust between citizens and police departments.

And almost as troubling was the news release put out by McCrory’s office after he signed the bill, quoting McCrory saying the legislation “fulfills our commitment to protect our law enforcement and gain public trust by promoting uniformity, clarity and transparency.”

That is exactly what it does not do. It doesn’t provide anything close to transparency for the public or the people who interact with police.

An editorial in the Wilson Daily Times called the release “misleading doublespeak.” And even that may be too kind.

Apodaca the latest through the revolving door

Powerful Senate Rules Chair Tom Apodaca announced his resignation from the Senate Friday morning but it wasn’t much of a surprise and he will likely be back in Raleigh soon enough.

Rumors surfaced recently that Apodaca was interested in becoming a lobbyist and would resign this month so he’d be able to lobby his former colleagues when the 2017 session begins in January.

State law requires a six month cooling off period before legislators can register to lobby and it’s become more common for lawmakers interested in cashing in to resign halfway through the second year of their term so they can lobby in the next session.

That’s not exactly what the law intended, legislators stepping down right after the short session so they can be ready to become a former legislator for hire to influence the members they served with.  It leaves people in their districts without representation for six months from the person they elected for a two-year term.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, eight states have two-year cooling off periods for legislators and many others make lawmakers wait a full year.

It is time for North Carolina to revisit its six-month requirement.

Apodaca was characteristically coy with the media about intentions, calling lobbying one of the options he is considering.  It’s also worth noting that Apodaca may have some fence-mending to do with members of the House after an acrimonious end to the summer session that included the House voting down a plan by Apodaca to change the way city council members are elected in Asheville.


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Chris Fitzsimon

Chris Fitzsimon, Founder and Executive Director of N.C. Policy Watch, writes the Fitzsimon File, delivers a radio commentary broadcast on WRAL-FM and hosts "News and Views," a weekly radio news magazine that airs on multiple stations across North Carolina. [email protected] 919-861-2066