Commentary

Editorial lays out five excellent priorities for state government in 2020

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In case you missed it, be sure to check out the lead Sunday editorial in Raleigh’s News & Observer and the Charlotte Observer. In “Five goals, perhaps wishful, for North Carolina to pursue in 2020,” the joint editorial board for the McClatchy twins identify five excellent priorities that North Carolina state leaders out to follow in 2020: 1) expand Medicaid, 2) fund public education, 3) step up on climate change, 40 shrink the rural-urban divide and 5) reform the UNC Board of Governors.

Here’s a brief excerpt:

In an important sense, the political new year won’t start in North Carolina until November. The General Assembly’s Republican majority can’t be expected to turn over a new leaf. It’ll follow the now tattered and discredited plan it has executed since taking control in 2011 — pushing tax cuts that favor the wealthy and big corporations, resisting Medicaid expansion, reducing environmental protections and business regulations and conducting public education on the cheap.

But, as North Carolina is becoming painfully aware, ignoring needs doesn’t make them go away. Despite the tunnel-vision of the legislature’s leaders, it’s worth taking a broader look at what North Carolina should do in 2020.

No. 1: Expand Medicaid. When the history of this era in state politics is written, the Republican lawmakers’ refusal to take the federal government’s offer to pay 90 percent of the cost of expanding Medicaid may be remembered as their cruelest and most financially reckless act. Thirty six states and the District of Columbia have taken the offer. One health care finance expert estimates that with Medicaid expansion 634,000 more North Carolinians would gain medical coverage, and by 2022 the state could add 37,220 more expansion-related jobs and $2.9 billion to the gross state product.

Click here to read the rest of the editorial.

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