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Last Thursday, members of the Economic Development and Global Engagement Oversight Committee saw evidence that many “business climate” rankings overstate how well North Carolina is actually doing.Abernathy Slide - Rankings and Econ Performance

Respected economic expert Ted Abernathy, formerly the Executive Director of the Southern Growth Policies board and now with Economic Leadership, an economic development and analysis consultancy, briefed the committee on a range of economic dynamics from growing wage gaps between urban and rural North Carolina to factors that influence our competitiveness on the global market.

Abernathy also examined how North Carolina’s economic performance compared with how we fared in several business interest group and media publications. This analysis shows that North Carolina’s economic performance has fallen short of its stature in many of the rankings. As can be seen in the graph, North Carolina is in the top 20% in performance (“Statistical Ranking”), but is a top 5 state in the “Best States” rankings. Our economy is doing better than many states, but not nearly as well as many state rankings would imply. Read More

NC Budget and Tax Center

Today the General Assembly’s Revenue Laws Committee held its first meeting for 2016. The meeting’s agenda included presentations to state lawmakers on the committee from state officials regarding tax changes passed last year as well as proposed tax changes that state leaders would like to pass this year. Also included on the agenda was a presentation from a representative of the Tax Foundation (TF), tax policy research organization that favors tax cuts for profitable corporations and the wealthy, and recently released analysis that fails to acknowledge the cost of such an approach to North Carolina’s ability to fund public schools, infrastructure like roads and water/sewer, state parks or public health initiatives.

Here are three takeaways from today’s meeting.

  • Despite the TF spokesman informing that his organization’s assessment of the impact of tax reform in North Carolina uses hypothetical (a.k.a. made up) taxpayer scenarios, some lawmakers still pointed to these scenarios during the meeting to support their claim that the tax changes benefit all North Carolinians. This is not true. The TF spokesman even acknowledged during his presentation that all NC taxpayers do not come out ahead under tax changes since 2013.

Read More

Commentary

From the good people at the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center:

Don’t forget to RSVP for a special keynote address and conversation with national policy expert Jared Bernstein.

Jared bernsteinFrom Recovery to Prosperity: What North Carolina Needs to Build an Economy for All

January 21st at 11:30 am

McKimmon Center at NC State University
1101 Gorman Street, Raleigh, NC

Individual Tickets $20

Student Tickets $10

Jared Bernstein, Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, will share his research on the state of the economy, insights into North Carolina’s performance relative to the nation and policy ideas that will improve employment outcomes and support broad economic well-being across the state.

The Budget & Tax Center will also offer a brief presentation on how we can ensure opportunity and prosperity are broadly shared among all North Carolinians.

It’s clear that a new approach to our economy is needed. Median incomes and wages continue to fall, costs for the basics are rising and many of the pathways out of poverty or protections for people struggling have been eroded due to tax cuts and flawed policy choices at the state level. Beyond the rhetoric, the facts on the ground demonstrate that North Carolina has not connected all communities and provided opportunities for everyone to be successful in the economy.

BUY TICKETS TODAY!

Table sponsorships are also available. Contact Alexandra Sirota at 919-861-1468 or alexandra@ncjustice.org to find out more.

NC Budget and Tax Center

The Hunt Library on NC State’s Centennial Campus was full of smiles Tuesday morning, all attending the official launch of Connect NC, the formal campaign to get a $2 billion bond approved by North Carolina Voters in the March 15th primaries.

Governor McCrory pitched a packed room of elected representatives, business leaders, and academic dignitaries to support the bond package. Running down a list of crumbling, outdated, and woefully inadequate facilities across the state, McCrory delivered a full-throated plea for fixing and upgrading North Carolina’s public infrastructure.

The General Assembly voted to put the bond package on the ballot in the last days of the 2015 legislative session, leaving voters to decide whether to use bonds to fund a series of investment in the UNC system, community colleges, local water and sewer systems, state parks, and the National Guard. (See below for a top-level breakdown of how the bond proceeds would be allocated. For more detail, a post from last year provides a full breakdown of the projects to be funded and how the bill changed during its final stages of approval.)

To his credit, Governor McCrory has clearly taken the time to visit some facilities, and he did not mince words about how badly the funds are needed. McCrory called some of our National Guard facilities “frankly disrespectful”, a science building at Western Carolina “an embarrassment”, and joked about feeling somewhat apprehensive that the roof of the Engineering and Science building at UNC Charlotte would fall through while he and his team were inspecting it.

It is important to remember some of the context surrounding the bond proposal. After years of recession and dwindling public investment, the need far outstrips what the bond would raise. Even if North Carolina voters pass the bond, much more investment will be needed to build the public infrastructure the modern economy demands. In addition, several rounds of deep tax cuts in recent years will make it hard to properly use and maintain the public facilities the bond would finance. Unless we plan to leave these facilities dark once they’re completed, state leaders are going to have to raise additional revenue or make painful cuts elsewhere.

Still, it was refreshing to witness a cheerful bipartisan call for investing in North Carolina’s economic future.

Allocation of bond funds:

  • University of North Carolina – $980 million
  • Community Colleges – $350 million
  • Local Water/Sewer Infrastructure and Parks- $312.5 million
  • State Parks, Zoo, and Attractions – $100 million
  • National Guard and Public Safety – $87.5 million
  • Agriculture – $179 million
Commentary

From our colleagues at the N.C. Budget and Tax Center:

Jared bernsteinGet your tickets today for a conversation about what’s next for North Carolina’s economy

What will it take for North Carolina’s economy to work for everyone not just a few? The state’s economy is recovering along with the nation but there are troubling signs that the expansion is not reaching many in North Carolina.

Join us for a special keynote address and conversation with national policy expert Jared Bernstein.

From Recovery to Prosperity: What North Carolina Needs to Build an Economy for All

January 21st at 11:30 am
McKimmon Center at NC State University
1101 Gorman Street, Raleigh, NC

Individual Tickets $20
Student Tickets $10

Jared Bernstein, Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, will share his research on the state of the economy, insights into North Carolina’s performance relative to the nation and policy ideas that will improve employment outcomes and support broad economic well-being across the state.

The Budget & Tax Center will also offer a brief presentation on how we can ensure opportunity and prosperity are broadly shared among all North Carolinians.

It’s clear that a new approach to our economy is needed. Median incomes and wages continue to fall, costs for the basics are rising and many of the pathways out of poverty or protections for people struggling have been eroded due to tax cuts and flawed policy choices at the state level. Beyond the rhetoric, the facts on the ground demonstrate that North Carolina has not connected all communities and provided opportunities for everyone to be successful in the economy.

BUY TICKETS TODAY!

Table sponsorships are also available. Contact Alexandra Sirota at 919-861-1468 or alexandra@ncjustice.org to find out more.