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Columns

The state should beware of fiscal storms
RALEIGH — 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 t ...



Devil's in the details on voter ID implementation
RALEIGH — Polls show a majority of North Carolina voters will be happy to present IDs before casting ballots when photo identification requirements begin in 2016. The process seems simple. Yo ...



Political parties should be careful about rule changes
RALEIGH — To the extent that Roy Cooper has a reasonable chance of defeating Gov. Pat McCrory for reelection, it’s because many of his fellow Democrats failed in their efforts to change th ...



Bill could spark electricity market competition
Electricity customers in 45 states can make deals with non-utilities to buy or generate power. North Carolina is among five states that ban this practice. Rep. John Szoka, a Fayetteville Republican ...



Mixed messages on the state of economy
RALEIGH — 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 ou ...



A snapshot of the lottery's progress
RALEIGH – The N.C. Education Lottery is the only state-run lottery in the country to increase sales and profits each year of its existence, according to a recent audit. It’s also one o ...



Champions of sunshine rise in N.C.
N.C. Senate President Pro-tem Phil Berger is about to pick up where he left off — when he served as Senate minority leader in 2010 — as a champion of the public’s right to know. I ...



N.C. going backward on smoking prevention
More than one in five adults in North Carolina still smokes and more than 15 percent of high school students do — costing the state thousands of lives and billions of dollars a year — and ...



Of course taxes matter
RALEIGH — If North Carolina’s tax burden has no effect on business decisions and the performance of the economy, as left-of-center politicians and editorialists have repeatedly insisted, t ...



Winners and losers in governor's budget
RALEIGH – At first glance, Gov. Pat McCrory’s budget for 2015-2017 is down the middle – not too friendly, not too unfriendly. Although outside groups on both the right and left ha ...



Political opposites attract on incentives, redistricting
RALEIGH – When some of the more liberal and more conservative advocacy groups and think tanks in North Carolina agree on a contentious issue in state government, it’s worth noting. It d ...



For a balanced diet, limit media
RALEIGH — Thank you for reading this column. It’s not just that I appreciate your interest in what I have to say. I appreciate the fact that you are reading this publication at all. Accord ...



Lawsuit over ID law heats up
Plaintiffs wanted Superior Court Judge Michael Morgan to strike down the state’s voter ID law as unconstitutional last week. That didn’t happen. The state wanted him to toss out the lawsui ...



A revealing moment in House's incentive debate
Something fascinating happened during this week’s House debate over economic incentive programs for businesses that could have a bigger impact on the state than whatever incentives the General A ...



Rogue legislators shouldn't automatically be scorned
RALEIGH – For someone who listens to many General Assembly debates, it’s refreshing when the most contentious votes don’t come down precisely along party lines. That’s what ...



No easy road for incentives package
RALEIGH – If history is a guide, the economic incentives package that begins a trek through the General Assembly this week won’t face an easy path. The “NC Competes Act,” ex ...



Assessing a poor command decision
Amid criticism over measures to mothball the 440th Airlift Wing based at Fort Bragg’s Pope Airfield, Air Force spokesman Col. Robert Palmer has fired back with assurances that steps taken includ ...



Pivot back to markets in North Carolina
RALEIGH — Over the past four years, state policymakers in Raleigh have adopted a series of sweeping changes in public policy, including a new state tax code, school choice, new energy policies, ...



Not fooling anyone
Amid criticism over measures to mothball the 440th Airlift Wing based at Fort Bragg’s Pope Airfield, Air Force spokesman Col. Robert Palmer has fired back with assurances that steps taken includ ...



The song remains the same in state elections
RALEIGH — Governors make lots of decisions. They propose budgets. They hire Cabinet secretaries and other key officials. They appoint members to governing boards. They sign or veto bills. They o ...




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