Don’t look now, but North Carolina’s long-maligned highway system is showing signs of significant improvement.
If you are absolutely sure what is going to happen in next year’s midterm elections, my advice is to keep it confidential, tell just a few key folks, let them be awestruck by your prescience on Election Day 2014, and then start a political-intelligence firm. You’ll make a killing.
When the July jobs report for North Carolina came out last week, showing an uptick in the unemployment rate, all the usual suspects said all the usual things.
When it comes to addressing North Carolina’s most pressing challenge, our lackluster economy, the state legislature deserves a grade of A- for its 2013 session.
When educational statistics and state politics collide, the results can be cringe-inducing.
As Democrats and Republicans debated North Carolina’s recently approved state budget, they devoted much of their attention to the income statement of state government. They argued about next year’s revenues and expenditures. What didn’t get nearly as much attention was how the budget affected state government’s balance sheet of assets and liabilities.
Is state spending on education an investment or a political payoff? Critics of the North Carolina state budget just approved by Gov. Pat McCrory and the legislature use the term “investment” a lot. But their arguments sound more like cheap politics.
When you hear politicians utter the phrase “economists say,” be skeptical. There may well be economists who agree with their particular policy idea. But economists and other social scientists don’t speak with one voice. There are many differences of opinion, reflecting differences in assumptions and methodology.
A few weeks ago, I was interviewing one of North Carolina’s senior Democratic statesmen for my upcoming biography of former Gov. Jim Martin. Not surprisingly, the interview occasionally veered from the events of 20 years ago to the events of 2013.
Liberal politicians, activists and commentators have spent months prodding, baiting and criticizing Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and the Republican-led state legislature. While occasionally goading their targets into making unwise comments, the obstructionists have failed to keep North Carolina’s new conservative leaders from pursuing fundamental reforms of the state’s failed public policies.
In Raleigh, the conservatives are confidently progressive and the progressives are desperately conservative.
Life, the old saying goes, is best thought of as a journey, not a destination. When it comes to reforming North Carolina’s tax code, however, I’d say the reverse is true. The journey may have been messy over the past few months, as state lawmakers and policy analysts pitched and debated various plans. But in the end, all that will really matter is the destination.
During the past year, North Carolinians have heard many things about Obamacare, Medicaid, and health care reform that turned out to be untrue.
If reforming North Carolina’s tax code were easy, one of the many tax-reform efforts of the past 20 years would have succeeded. Didn’t happen.
Just about every political cause in Raleigh is being pitched as a spur to economic growth. It’s easy to see why. North Carolina continues to post one of the worst unemployment rates in the country. Poll respondents continue to list job creation as the top priority for their elected leaders.