There has been a lot of talk in the state, national and social media world about North Carolina’s reputation as of late, and it doesn’t sound so good. Governor McCrory has repeatedly stated that he was concerned about North Carolina’s brand and intended to rebrand the state to make it more business-friendly. Turns out, North Carolina is already competitive and further, the US Chamber of Commerce tells us “North Carolina is home to a collection of powerhouse research universities and a network of higher education. With innovative and high-tech enterprises spinning from places like the Research Triangle for more than 30 years, North Carolina ranks 12th overall for technology and entrepreneurship this year. The state has the 13th-highest concentration of STEM workers and ranks 4th for academic research and development intensity.”
But during this session, NC’s brand has taken quite a few hits on the chin, due in part to the Legislature’s misguided tax and budget proposals. Tax plans put forward this session put at risk valuable public investments that help our economy and competitiveness, such as quality education and investments in workforce development, to give tax cuts primarily to millionaires and the most profitable corporations. The pursuit of these “bargain basement taxes” is based on flawed ideology claiming that tax cuts create jobs, a claim that years of economic research, national, state and international experience disproves.
So what is at the finish line of race to the bottom tax policy? Turns out it leads us to a new low in investments in K-12 education, community colleges and universities, research and technology, the health of our children and seniors. These debates beg the questions: what kind of state do we want to become? What is the North Carolina Brand that we want to promote?