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McCrory pits teacher pay, film incentives during budget pitch

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RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) -- The General Assembly convened in Raleigh today. The focus: the state budget and specifically several issues that impact southeastern North Carolina in a big way.

As the Short Session got under way, the governor stole the show unveiling his budget proposal that will be the focus of the Short Session. It included the much talked about raises for teachers and for state employees, as well as cuts to the university system.

"About $7 million of that, for example, is decrease in funding for the universities because their enrollment is going down," state budget director Art Pope said.

When it comes to the inclusion of film incentives, though, details were sparse. The governor only said his focus would be on more long-term projects, not short-term projects. He even took one notable late-night talk show host to task.

"What we saw with the Democratic (National) Convention several years ago was when, for example, 'The Daily Show' would come in and get several hundred thousand dollars credit, and that was money right out of our budget, which we could have given to teachers," Gov. Pat McCrory said.

Rep. Susi Hamilton (D-18th District) says not so fast.

"If they're going to say that teachers raises are contingent on eliminating film incentives, I will counter that by saying teachers and state employee raises are contingent on eliminating all incentives," Hamilton said.

Hamilton says the incentives could be a make or break for the coastal economy.

"That will have a much larger impact on how we treat state employees and teacher raises in the coming years," Hamilton said. "If they don't fix what they messed up in tax reform in 2013 and revenue collections don't at least start coming in at projected rate, then we'll not be able to give anyone raises."

The governor says his new plan for film would include provisions that would benefit the projects that would spend the most time in our state and spend the most money. It remains unclear just how that would work.

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