An excellent editorial, received today via email from WRAL.
When it comes to excellence, North Carolina seems satisfied with achieving unparalleled mediocrity.
Why work to be the best when the state can continue to give unnecessary tax breaks to corporations – on top of massive federal tax cuts? Then, after revenues dry up, explain away stagnation with “that’s the best we can do with the money we have” to deliver important government responsibilities that are just alright? It’s government on the cheap. In too many cases, North Carolina taxpayers aren’t even getting what they pay for.
North Carolina is among the bottom half of states in per-student public school spending and average pay for public school teachers.
The state’s dropped to 40th with a “C-“ grade in Education Week’s “2018 Quality Counts” report card on public education. North Carolina received a C- grade and a score of 70.6 out of a possible 100 in the 2018 Quality Counts report released this week by Education Week. That’s below the national grade of C and score of 74.5. North Carolina’s score put it 40th out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. That’s a DROP of two slots from a year earlier.
North Carolina remains just one of 14 states that have not expanded, at federal expense, Medicaid health coverage to more than 500,000 citizens who don’t now qualify. United Health Foundation’s annual “America’s Health Rankings” puts the state at 33rd overall and 42nd in per-person public health funding and 41st in infant mortality.
Even in economic development – where the state generally ranks among the leaders – there hasn’t been success commensurate with expectations because of scrimping and shortcuts. Six years ago, the state revamped its economic development structure, in part for cost savings and also to specifically target major manufacturers like auto makers. It hasn’t been any more effective. A year ago, after offering more than $1.5 billion in incentives, Toyota and Mazda selected a site near Huntsville, Ala., over North Carolina for a major, 4,000-job facility.
That failure was just a prelude to the disappointing high-profile courtships with Amazon and Apple, suitors who picked other states for major facilities.
There is no hiding the diminished aspirations of leaders who aren’t willing to spend more than merely what is needed to get the job done.
There is no demand for excellence and no dedication to constant improvement.
Just get by, that’s fine. That’s the clear message.
But it’s not a message that meets our State Constitution’s mandate that every child receive a quality education.
It is not a message that says North Carolina is a state that cares about the well-being of all of its citizens. It is not a message that tells economic development prospects they’ll find an environment that fosters a quality workforce and growth.
As the General Assembly prepares to start a new session, it is time to lift the state out of the bargain basement.