Two sides in film incentives debate

It’s looking like the current film-incentives program may be scrapped for a much different grant program for TV and movie production companies. Other possible outcomes of this year’s legislative session include extending the current program or eliminating film incentives...

Lawmakers aim to bring back job-killing taxes

Last year’s state tax reform lowered income tax rates for all working North Carolinians. The lower rates make North Carolina more competitive for jobs and stimulate economic growth. Less than a year after the reform’s passage, however, several lawmakers drafted a bill to sabotage...

What largely explains the drop

The next time you see or hear a politician, policy analyst, activist or journalist say that North Carolina’s unemployment rate has fallen “largely” because of workers dropping out of the labor force, ask for a definition of the term. I don’t mean the term “unemployment rate.”...

You decide: How can communities revive?

By Mike Walden My wife and I recently spent a long weekend in New York City celebrating our wedding anniversary. It’s amazing how time flies: This is No. 34, thank you! New York City — or simply “the City” to native New Yorkers — conjures up both negative and positive feelings....

Fake news or sign of trouble?

Of the three situations I can recall where agencies receiving large sums of taxpayer dollars wouldn’t divulge employees’ salaries, two of them ended badly. The third — involving a group of charter schools in southeastern North Carolina  — is playing out right now. In the first...

Wake board overreaches in touting Common Core

Recently Wake County School Board member Jim Martin called current legislative efforts to correct Common Core problems “very much a political overreach.” According to news reports, Martin then fired this shot: “It’s not clear that the folks writing this legislation know what...

Serve a different plate

As often happens at the North Carolina General Assembly, the new fiscal year has begun with the House and Senate not yet finished with a budget-adjustment bill. Medicaid funding, teacher compensation and a few other issues continue to divide the two chambers. Call me odd — it’ll...

Lawmakers: This isn’t medical marijuana

As state legislators debated allowing the use of an extract from marijuana plants to treat seizure disorders over the past couple of weeks, it was evident that social conservatives — there are many of them in the General Assembly — felt a tinge of unease about it, even as almost...

Missing the budget forest for all the sniping in the trees

Most of the talk in Raleigh these days is about the sniping between House and Senate leaders as lawmakers try to come up with a final budget agreement. This week House Speaker Thom Tillis joined Governor Pat McCrory on the lawn of the governor’s mansion to tout a new proposal by...

Economy boosts GOP prospects

Gov. Pat McCrory and the GOP-led state legislature are at odds over the budget, Medicaid reform, Common Core and other issues. Conservatives are disappointed with the McCrory administration’s continued defense of corporate incentives. Senators disagree with the House budget’s...

A subpoena for state budget director?

The negotiations between House and Senate leaders trying to reach a final budget agreement didn’t seem to be going very well as last week came to an end. A local newspaper reports that State Budget Director Art Pope declined to appear at a Senate meeting called to discuss the...

Want to raise minimum wage? Approve fracking.

Protesters from North Carolina’s Moral Monday movement, as well as other grassroots protests around the nation, have cited an increase in the minimum wage as one of their chief goals. What happens, however, when government acquiesces to such demands? Seattle, Wash., recently...