Republican leaders in the General Assembly and Gov. Pat McCrory have reached a budget deal that also includes a major reorganization for economic development and recruitment in North Carolina.

“The State Budget authorizes the Commerce Department to reorganize and form a public-private partnership,” WRAL’s Mark Binker reports.

The budget deal was hammered out Sunday night and is expected to be formally approved this week.

The plan had been a key legislative initiative of McCrory, who took office in January. 

McCrory, a Republican, had been pushing the legislature to create a private nonprofit that would contract with the state to handle everything from tourism promotion to the recruitment of new businesses. Proponents of the idea say it would allow the state to move more quickly when a company asks about relocating here and would allow for more competitive compensation of job recruiters.

During a recent news conference, McCrory listed the measure among his key unfinished priorities for the current legislative session and he mentioned it again during a later economic development announcement.

Referencing the Commerce Department bill, McCrory had said he wanted it passed “as soon as possible.”

The budget also eliminates state funding for the nonprofit Rural Economic Development Center, which was stung by a negative audit last week, triggering the resignation of its long-time president. In its place, the legislature is creating a new division within the North Carolina Department of Commerce to focus on improving services to the state’s rural counties. 

In other parts of the budget affecting North Carolina’s technology and life science sectors, the budget for the N.C. Biotechnology Center was cut 25 percent and funding was eliminated for the N.C. Biofuels Center.