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If you sell tin-foil hats, you may want to pay a visit to the Wake County Board of Commissioners– I think they may be in need of your services.  I have to admit that I don’t spend a tremendous amount of time monitoring the goings on of the Wake Commissioners since we do work all over the state, but Wake is my home, so I do try to pay them some attention. I am sorry I did.

The big headline yesterday was supposed to be the Commission’s vote on a resolution in favor of the discriminatory constitutional amendment on the ballot in May. They ultimately did vote in favor of the resolution, to the surprise of no one. But to my mind, the real story out of the meeting was the absolutely bizarre behavior by the conservatives on the commission regarding the findings of a sustainability plan commissioned for the County. If you thought you were watching the Wake Committee on Un-American Activities, you could be forgiven. Read More

Professor Kenneth Thomas of the University of Missouri at St. Louis, an expert on public subsidies for private business will be in Raleigh on August 31 to headline a special NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation luncheon.

Thomas’ most recent book is entitled “Investment Incentives and the Global Competition for Capital.” Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from one of the most knowledgeable folks around about this vexing and controversial subect.

Click here for more information about the event.

The accessibility to a sound, equitable, and adequate education for each North Carolina resident is paramount to future success within our growing economy. Many programs within this multifaceted system guarantee our future generation a strong, educational foundation; notably dropout prevention grants. However, the recent elimination of these grants by the NC General Assembly (a mere 0.0012% of the total education appropriations, or $13.3 mil.) threatens the ability of many at-risk adolescents to complete their education, further hindering their role in North Carolina’s workforce.

According to the state Department of Public Instruction, North Carolina has recently seen a record low in dropout rates. This, in large part, is due to the success of programs funded through dropout prevention grants allocated by the state. These programs provide at-risk students with additional aid to possess core academic skills, assist students in passing employer exams, set long term goals for decreasing dropout rates while increasing college readiness, and enable students to complete technical/academic programs in high demand fields with adequate wages.

Without the continuation of these existing programs, at-risk students will fall farther behind, moreover punctuating our polarized and inequitable society. As Horace Mann once stated, “Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance-wheel of the social machinery.” During a time of deep economic recession, threatening the education of our children neither aids our economy nor creates more equitable economic opportunity.

North Carolinians, especially in our urban centers, are used to receiving top picks for great places to live, work, raise a family, retire – the list goes on. But two recent studies say shame on NC – when it comes to transportation.

These studies show that unless our elected officials make significant investments for the future and drivers demand more fuel efficiency and alternatives to always getting in the car, we will continue to face serious pollution and resulting health effects that will cost us millions and for some of us, our lives.

What does this have to do with NC’s American Idol winner, Scotty McCreery? Read More

North Carolina has several programs to lure businesses to our state. While environmental impacts are supposed to be considered before incentives are awarded, a company’s energy consumption needs more scrutiny. Data centers, such as those of Google, Apple and Facebook, are coming to NC because of the low cost of electricity, mostly due to the burning of coal.  But a closer look at the hidden costs of burning coal shows that coal is far from cheap for the residents of NC. Read More