In his town hall forums, House Speaker Thom Tillis continues to get tough questions about how to better fund schools.
On Friday in Waxhaw, he gave a long-winded answer suggesting that new taxes and fees aren't on the table for consideration until the state looks at selling off unneeded assets. (Read a Charlotte Observer report on the visit here.)
He first mentioned selling Rex Hospital: "We own a hospital that is valued at somewhere over $1.2 billion," Tillis said. "We are looking at: should we continue be in that business, it's a very contentious issue. But the last time I checked there's a lot of hospitals not owned by the state that are doing just fine. And is there a way to free that up and use some of the money for the university system which owns it and use some of the money for education and health and human services purposes."
Next he highlighted a potential sale of the North Carolina Railroad: "We are the only state in the country that owns a railroad," he said, noting its value at $200-250 million. "If other states figured out how not to own a railroad, and do just fine, could we?"
The folks at ProgressNC, who posted the video, used the answer to suggest that Tillis "still can't get his story straight." They note that he previously blamed teacher layoffs on local superintendents.
The speaker's office suggested that Tillis' isn't taking a stand on whether to sell the UNC-owned Rex or the railroad, but just putting the ideas on the table.