Should we borrow for roads and buildings?

You Decide by Dr. Mike Walden Debt has acquired the status of a bad four-letter word. We worry about public debt, especially the $18 trillion national debt. We also worry about our private debt, realizing, for example, that large household debt was one of the factors leading to...

Careful about rule changes

by John Hood To the extent that Roy Cooper has a reasonable chance of defeating Gov. Pat McCrory for re-election, it’s because many of his fellow Democrats failed in their efforts to change the electoral process in 1980s and early 1990s. In 1984, U.S. Rep. Jim Martin was elected...

Majority doesn’t always rule in voice votes

by Patrick Gannon Most committee votes in the General Assembly are done by voice vote. The committee chairman calls for “ayes” then “noes” on a particular piece of legislation or an amendment to a bill. The side with the loudest response typically prevails. Sounds pretty...

Obama’s first-two-years-free community college plan flawed

by Bob Luebke America needs a better-educated work force, but President Obama’s plan for “free” community college is not the way to get it. By 2020, two in three jobs will require some higher education to perform. This reality has helped propel Obama’s recent proposal to make the...

Stop debt collectors from hassling you falsely

Dear Steve, I’m getting really tired of being hassled for an old debt I don’t owe. I keep trying to explain to the debt collectors that I don’t owe the bill they keep trying to say I need to pay. What can I do? —Mary Dear Mary, Being chased for a debt you don’t owe is not fun. I...

North Carolina lawmakers push corporate welfare

by Brian Balfour Politicians love to use their power to dole out favors and privileges to politically connected special interests. They also love to interfere with the economy, attempting to impose their preferences upon investors and consumers through a hodgepodge of taxpayer...

Mixed messages on the state of the economy

by Patrick Gannon One of the toughest things about covering state government is trying to get a handle on the true state of North Carolina’s economy at any given time. If anyone ever figures it out, let me know. Confusing the issue is that we often hear mixed messages – sometimes...

Job growth sizzled last year

by John Hood According to a recent High Point University poll, North Carolinians feel better about the direction of the economy than they have in many years. According to just-released data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, North Carolinians seem to have a pretty good...

Poverty center closing has one fringe benefit

The wailing over the closing of a University of North Carolina-based center has at least one fringe benefit: It underscores why the closing was  needed. John Fennebresque, chairman of the Board of Governors (BOG) of the UNC System, in the News & Observer wrote: “Over the last...

Wake needs more representation, diversity on county board

by Chad Barefoot I recently introduced Senate Bill 181, Wake County Commissioner Districts, to increase representation and geographic diversity on the Wake County Board of Commissioners and to ensure that every Wake County voter has a voice. Wake County is the state’s most...

The next phase of the unaccountability movement in education

If lessons from other states are any indication, get ready for scandals, the wasting of millions of dollars of taxpayer money, dreadful student achievement and maybe even fraud next fall as North Carolina turns over the education of thousands of students to a company with an...

Fiscal issues divide state’s Republicans

Now that Gov. Pat McCrory has released his budget proposal for the 2015-17 biennium, there are at least two fiscal issues dividing North Carolina Republicans this year. Before discussing them, however, two observations are obligatory. First, there is no substantial constituency...