- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Gov. Pat McCrory pitched bond referenda once again Wednesday to fellow Republicans in charge of the General Assembly.

McCrory went to a joint House-Senate GOP caucus meeting accompanied by former State Budget Director Art Pope.

The meeting was not open to the public, but McCrory told some reporters after the meeting that Pope was there as a volunteer who presented some polling about borrowing packages. The governor said Pope’s information came from the Renew North Carolina Foundation, a nonprofit political advocacy organization backing McCrory’s agenda.

McCrory wants the state to borrow up to $3 billion for road and government building construction. The legislature must approve putting the question of borrowing on the ballot. McCrory wants the referendum to take place this fall, although some legislators are skeptical about holding it while only municipal races are on the ballot.

“I know that the people of North Carolina are warming up to it,” McCrory said at his office at the old Capitol building, adding he believe the data show “that the people of North Carolina are very much interested in investing in our future roads and parks and universities and community colleges.”

McCrory and his administration leaders have been giving speeches throughout the state promoting the debt idea. He’s worried extremely low interest rates will soon go up, making it more expensive to borrow if lawmakers wait to set referenda until next year.

The governor declined to comment in detail about the state budget bill passed by the House last week, saying he wanted to wait until the Senate passed its own version. Senate Republicans said Wednesday that they hope to approve their two-year state government spending plan by June 11. House and Senate leaders hope to get a final plan to McCrory’s desk before the new fiscal year begins July 1.

“I think there’s a way to go until we reach a clear consensus,” the governor said.

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