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jobseconomyDon’t get us wrong; it’s almost always great whenever a new employer is creating jobs in North Carolina. And the phenomenon of politicians claiming credit for job creation is nothing new; everyone likes good news and wants to be around when it’s delivered.

That said, today’s press release from the office of Governor Pat McCrory announcing the expansion of a plastics manufacturer in Henderson County borders on the ridiculous. This is from the release:

“Governor Pat McCrory and N.C. Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker announced today that Elkamet Inc. is expanding its North Carolina manufacturing operations in Henderson County.  The company plans to create 20 new jobs and invest more than $2.5 million over the next three years in East Flat Rock…. Read More

In Kansas, tax reform isn’t exactly playing out the way some lawmakers had hoped.  The state that Grover Norquist once called “the starter gun for tax competition” has passed a series of income tax cuts over the past year with the stated goal of eventually eliminating income taxes altogether in the near future.  This “race to zero” is well underway in several states with conservative governors and legislatures.  Here’s a quick look at how that’s working out so far for Kansas:

A $2.5B budget shortfall

The Kansas Legislative Research Department is projecting a $2.5 billion revenue hole through 2018 because the legislature has yet to figure out an effective way to replace lost revenues as a result of the income tax cuts.

A threatened credit rating

Last month, a state court ruled that the Kansas legislature was breaking the law by underfunding public schools as a result of the income tax cuts, which prompted Moody’s Investors Service to warn of a negative credit risk for the state.

Less funding for public services

Concerns over the state’s credit rating aren’t the only thing that should give Kansans pause.  By starving public schools and other services critical to economic success, the state is jeopardizing future growth. Read More

Some people took offense at yesterday’s attempt at satire regarding the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. In response to which all a body can say is: Would that they had taken offense to the real world actions of the North Carolina General Assembly on the subject of destructive Atlantic Ocean phenomena!

And speaking of the policy implications of the disastrous weather of recent days, this morning’s Weekly Briefing (“Who ya’ gonna’ call?”)  uses Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath as a means of raising the subject of our societal investment in public structures and systems and providing a reminder of how absolutely essential they are for the well-being of our economy and society generally.

In case you missed them, there were two very different but equally powerful history lessons that were made available online in recent days:

#1 – The first came from a professor of history, Duke University’s William Chafe, whose op-ed in Raleigh’s News & Observer provided a refresher course on the close link between the rise and fall of the middle class and our ebbing and flowing societal commitment to public investments.

#2 – The second came from author Larkin Warren whose piece for the New York Times (“I Was a Welfare Mother”) provides a powerful refutation of those who seek to “divide and conquer” or simply ignore the Americans who find themselves, at times, “dependent” on public assistance.

Great stuff.

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The Wilmington Star News has a nice tribute to the late Neil Armstrong that’s worth a read this morning. As the editorial noted:

“His death on Saturday at age 82 took those of us who remember that moment back to our living rooms, as we sat contemplating the enormity of the achievement we had just witnessed.

Armstrong’s feat represented more than a mission to send a spacecraft to the moon. The space program at its peak represented the American spirit of adventure, the need to find out more about our universe and, as a result, our own planet – and ourselves.”

Armstrong’s passing should also serve to remind us Read More