Economy of State Remains Troubled
Both N.C. gubernatorial candidates, Republican Pat McCrory and Democrat Walter Dalton, recently set forth their plans for getting the state’s economy back on track.
Since then, two reports have given stark evidence of just what a stubborn economic fix we find ourselves in — and raise questions as to whether either platform comes close to providing the oomph to turn things around.
The first report showed that unemployment in North Carolina increased from 9.6 percent in July to 9.7 percent in August. That’s not much of a jump, perhaps, and the figure is a bit lower than it was a year ago. But it’s hardly good news.
More troubling were new Census figures showing that the state’s poverty rate remained high at 17.9 percent in 2011, unchanged from 2010. By the federal definition, 1.7 million North Carolinians rank as poor, with more than 737,000 of them in deep poverty. That means our jobless rate is now the 13th-highest in the nation. And our poverty rate is the sixth-highest — something that should be a source of concern and shame.
McCrory’s plan involves cutting taxes, reducing regulation and doing more natural gas exploration and offshore drilling. Besides setting up corporate tax exemptions and creating “innovation hubs” in some counties, Dalton would provide more workforce training.
Surely the magnitude of the problem requires something more imaginative than either of those “solutions.” A place to start, as stated earlier here, would be with major, meaningful tax reforms.
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