Our View: Governor showered with complaints

Oct. 14, 2013 @ 08:13 PM

Folks around the state have talked for years about the need to upgrade a sizable portion of state government’s infrastructure. And during the 2012 campaign, Republican Gov. Pat McCrory promised that he’d address those needs.
But McCrory and his administration really stepped in it when officials put $230,000 in the new state budget for repairs and renovations to six upstairs bathrooms in the N.C. Executive Mansion in Raleigh. The expenditure for bathroom upgrades was included in the state budget as part of a $90 million plan for infrastructure improvements.
When news about the bathroom work spread, the howls of protest surfaced. And in the context of a state budget that Democrats have criticized as gutting education and social services and giving tax cuts to the rich, including that money in this year’s budget really wasn’t a very smart move politically.
News reports have said the six bathrooms on the Executive Mansion’s upper floors haven’t been upgraded since the 1970s. Those facilities were not part of a $5 million upgrade the mansion underwent a few years ago during the administration of Democrat Mike Easley. So, there probably are grounds for making a case that some renovations are needed. After all, the mansion, built in 1891, is historic public property that needs to be taken care of.
But in the wake of negative reactions to new reports, McCrory, who grew up in Jamestown, said over the weekend that taxpayer money will not be used to remodel or upgrade any of the six bathrooms in the living quarters. Tax money only will fund repairs to broken faucets, fix potential code violations and treat mold that is potentially dangerous, McCrory spokeswoman Kim Genardo said.
This was the correct move for McCrory. Trying to justify such spending during continued rough economic times for many Tarheels would be a tough sell for the governor.

NCShakes prepares for rebound
The North Carolina Shakespeare Festival received a shot in the arm recently when the High Point Convention & Visitors Bureau awarded the group $29,000 from hotel room tax revenues to help promote Festival activities. The Festival, which canceled its Main Stage productions for this year because of financial issues, has undertaken a $100,000 fundraising campaign in order to get back on track for the 2014-15 season. The CVB award should be a help.