North Carolina ‘grays’ a bit more each year

by Patrick Gannon Call it the “graying of North Carolina.” The state is getting older, a phenomenon that brings with it many issues and problems for government to address in the coming years and decades. Some already are here. It’s also a trend legislators and other state leaders...

Early voting bill ignores election facts

by Susan Myrick They say “timing is everything,” but it’s hard to understand the timing behind our most recent “Bad Bill of the Week”: House Bill 239 Restore Early Voting Days. HB 239’s primary sponsors Larry Hall (D-Durham), Marvin Lucas (D-Cumberland), Garland Pierce (D-Hoke)...

Beware of fiscal storms

by John Hood When I tell audiences that I have always been a committed Marxist, I usually get a combination of disbelieving snorts and knowing chuckles. The cleverest response goes something like this: “I can believe you’ve been a committed Marxist, but I can’t believe they’d...

State legislators not ready for medical marijuana

by Patrick Gannon As far as I could tell, most of the speakers weren’t hippies or druggies or ne’er-do-wells. They were everyday people from across the state who traveled to Raleigh last week to beg state legislators to legalize medical marijuana to treat various physical and...

Are there easy answers to key economic questions?

You Decide by Dr. Mike Walden When I give presentations about the economy around the state, I always leave time for questions and answers. Of course, the questions vary based on the group, the location and the most recent economic news. I have noticed there are four in particular...

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...