What we hope not to hear during legislative debates

by Patrick Gannon With another General Assembly long session upon us, we once again will get to hear hundreds of hours of political debate over the next few months, ranging from the extremely mundane to the vitally important. During debates in committees and on the House and...

Lawmaker’s snow day dream would cost billions

by Brian Balfour So a lonely, bored state legislator takes to Twitter the other day when the legislature was snowed out, and lists items he’d like to force state taxpayers to pay for. And for some reason, this makes the news. State Senator Jeff Jackson (D-Mecklenburg) tweeted an...

The Senate’s miraculous-or not-gas tax plan

by Patrick Gannon If you could devise a way to bring in more than $1 billion in new government revenue over a few years, while cutting taxes simultaneously, you might be a miracle worker. Yet that’s what several high-ranking Republicans in the state Senate claim to have done with...

School grades help reveal quality of public education

by Bob Luebke Recently North Carolina released A-F grades for all traditional public and charter schools. Only about 5 percent of schools got A’s; about 29 percent got D’s or F’s. News outlets have been all over the story. There will be endless analyses and review of the data. In...
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Local school report cards

Here are the grades of schools in our area, released as part of the school progress reports. Franklin County: Bunn Elementary, C; Edward Best Elementary, B; Franklinton Elementary, D; Laurel Mill Elementary, D; Long Mill Elementary, C; Louisburg Elementary, D; Royal Elementary,...

Letter grades are tough love for education

by Patrick Gannon Tough love is now part of government’s role. That’s what happened in many areas across North Carolina last week when every public and charter school in the state was given an A-to-F grade for the 2013-14 school year by the State Board of Education. More schools...

Fair is not foul

by John Hood At the beginning of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, three grotesque witches enter the stage with thunder rumbling in the background. You may recall that the witches ending up chanting in unison: “Fair is foul, and foul is fair/Hover through the fog and filthy air.” The...

A compass for Valentine’s Day

As we celebrate Valentine’s Day with romantic cards, dinners, flowers, chocolates, etc., we express love and affection. Honestly, most of us would like to improve in the love department. The good news: this is entirely possible, if we know what to do. We need both a map and a...

Restoration is theme early in session

by Patrick Gannon The theme of the first week of the General Assembly session could be summed up adequately with one word: “restoration.” And not just because 170 legislators came back to town for the long legislative session, bringing the political divisiveness that is Jones...

Let’s celebrate school choice

by Bob Luebke National School Choice Week in January highlighted the many reasons to celebrate this modest but important idea all year round. School choice is based on a simple truth: Parents know their children better than anyone else. As such, parents – not the government –...

New law reduces ACA damage

by Dr. Tracy Miller Unemployment has been falling but the number of Americans not working—or working fewer hours—has remained stubbornly high since 2008. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, is part of the reason for this. By requiring businesses with more than...

You Decide: The impacts of tax changes

by Dr. Mike Walden Get ready for some tax debates in 2015. At the national level, pundits think a proposal to lower the federal income tax rate may be one piece of common ground between President Obama and the Congress. Here in North Carolina, Round 2 of tax changes – focusing on...