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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP/WBTV) -
Republican Gov. Pat McCrory says his new administration will focus on the economy, education and the efficiency of state government services.
McCrory made the comments Monday night during his first State of the State address to a joint session of the General Assembly in Raleigh.
The former Charlotte mayor also said North Carolina is no longer going to take federal money without knowing how to pay back.
He was referring to the $2.5 billion the state owes the federal government for unemployment benefits.
He said he would sign a bill Tuesday that would accelerate the debt repayment by raising taxes and cutting jobless benefits.
McCrory said he would seek legislation to allow school districts use more lottery revenues for technology and virtual learning.
McCrory has talked for more than a year about how he'd lead the state. He has spent the month since taking office learning the ropes of state government.
Medicaid, unemployment insurance and state infrastructure have been on his things-to-do list so far.
From the election night victory in his adopted hometown of Charlotte, to taking the oath of office on two separate occasions, Pat McCrory has billed himself as a governor who can fix what is broken in state government.
One day after he was elected, McCrory said, "What you will see immediately is a customer service culture that will treat our entrepreneurs and business people as customers not as adversaries."
It is the issue of an unpredictable economy that poses the greatest challenge.
As a campaigner, McCrory often cited labor statistics that put North Carolina's unemployment rate as the fifth highest in the nation. voters want to see a turnaround in the numbers.
Talbert Freeman of Charlotte wants to see a return to industry.
"You've got to bring more manufacturing back. You know they got rid of manufacturing in Charlotte and the other counties and stuff," he said.
Already, state lawmakers have approved deep cuts in benefits to displaced workers, but some of those paying attention to his upcoming address are concerned about pain to another program.
Charlotte voter Pat Cubbins is among those with worries about health care.
She said, "The Medicaid cuts. The Medicare. So I'm willing to give him a chance."
Social services issues are the sole issue relevant to voters, but reducing the pain some say they feel in their wallets.
Jeff Cooper is hoping for tax relief.
"I'm looking forward to hearing about the tax plan. I think in an economic time like this, it would interesting to see if a new republican governor can reduce some of the taxes."
Previous governors have used the biennial address to highlight provisions in their upcoming two-year budgets. McCrory's budget isn't expected until mid-March.
Copyright 2013 WBTV. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.
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