McCrory talks Connect NC bond at UNCW

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Gov. Pat McCrory stopped by UNCW today to push for a new bond plan that could provide big money to the school.

If passed, the Connect NC bond will benefit 76 counties and help with education buildings and safety, but it’s all up to the voters in Tuesday’s primary.

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“We have a very limited amount of money. We don’t have $2 billion,” McCrory said. “What we’re doing is getting a low-cost mortgage that fits our financial formula.”

The would mean $66 million toward a new health and nursing building for UNCW. It would also provide money to CFCC and Brunswick Community College for improvements, as well as money for Carolina Beach State Park and the Kure Beach State Recreation Area.

With interest rates low, McCrory says the time is now to make improvements to education.

“It’s actually cheaper for us now to borrow money now and fix these problems now, and if we don’t, there will most likely have to be a tax increase to fix these facilities down the road,” McCrory said.

But opponents of the bond, like Wilmington attorney Melissa Gott, worry about the debt it will cause for future generations.

“That’s, again, just running up debt that our children are going to have to pay back,” Gott said.

Gott and others want the project to be added to the state budget over a span of time rather than done all at once.

“We, at this point, have over $400 million of surplus in our budget, and if these projects are so important, they could be done through the normal budgeting process,” Gott said.

She also worries that the bond is misleading to voters because it originally called for fixing roads and now doesn’t.

“Once the bond proposal got over to the legislature, it got changed significantly,” Gott said. “Roads and infrastructure were removed out of the bond.”

McCrory says he’s confident about the bond and doesn’t anticipate it failing at the polls.

“One reason I don’t have a B plan is because I’m pretty confident we have a good plan in place for the voters to pass,” the governor said.