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New Partnership Pushes for Meeting N.C.'s Growth Needs Head-on

Posted May 23, 2007

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— Imagine the entire population of South Carolina moving into North Carolina.

Demographers predict that is essentially what will happen by the year 2030, with an estimated 4 million more people calling North Carolina home than do today — a 50 percent population increase.

Partnership for North Carolina's Future, a new group that met Wednesday in Raleigh, argues that we all need to start planning and paying for that growth now.

The group comprises business and community leaders regardless of political affiliations. They say North Carolina has to figure out how we are going to pay to meet the ongoing needs for school and road construction, clean water and open space.

Partnership supporters packed into a press conference at the General Assembly this morning to call on lawmakers to find ways to fund the needs.

“In truth, all of this is about answering two fundamental questions: How much are our children worth? How much is the future of North Carolina worth?” Tom Lambeth of the Rural Economic Development Center said.

Members said it’s too early for specifics, but they hinted at statewide bonds and more taxing authority for counties. The state treasurer has said North Carolina could safely borrow about $2 billion in the 2007-08 fiscal year.

A controversial land transfer tax on all home sales is also getting a lot of play at the Legislature.

Plenty of critics are lining up to fight more taxes, but Sen. Daniel G. Clodfelter, D-Mecklenburg, one of the Partnership leaders, warned against that position.

North Carolina was known as the Rip Van Winkle State in the 1800s for turning its back on growth and progress, Clodfelter said. The state is at risk of getting that reputation back if it doesn't find ways to pay for growth, he said.

22 Comments

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  • jcdecker May 24, 2007

    For fear of being raked over the coals I have a very simple question. Why is that if a group of people organize themselves to advocate a cause they are always labeled a fringe group with ulterior motives by some. Whether it's WakeCares, WakeUP, JOhn Locke, Wake Ed partnership, or this new group. It almost seems like a level of paranoia by some. For example, name one group that has been formed to advocate for education that hasn't been labeled fringe?

  • Taxpayer May 23, 2007

    1. This is a lobbying group, minus checks and balances.
    2. They will successfully to influence weak-minded lawmakers.
    3. Who decided the ones to be 'included' vs 'excluded'?
    4. Why does the state's largest grant provider have a lead role?
    5. One visible white woman. One visible black woman. Window dressing? So guess who controls the agenda.

  • Not_So_Dumb May 23, 2007

    SubwayScoundrel,

    Don't forget that there are plenty of groups from the other side of the political spectrum than John Locke that are just as bad. With this group starting out by saying that government needs to find more funds (code words for raise taxes, take more money from the people) it sounds like they are exactly that.

  • SubwayScoundrel May 23, 2007

    I agree with the grow up and not grow out. For growth, you either grow or you die. Growth is here and we must deal with it instead of listening to groups that want to kill the school system while not wanting developers to pay fees. There has to be a medium somewhere and I would hope this group falls in there. If not, they will become just another fringe group like the John Locke Foundation and all it's offset groups.

  • 68_polara May 23, 2007

    Grow UP not OUT, that way you won't have as many problems as the cities that grew out and not up.

    This also reduces heart disease as well as diabetes. Cut down on caloric intake and exercise. :-P

  • mvnull May 23, 2007

    "Why does our state government give tax breaks to businesses to locate here and at the same time say we need to raise taxes to support growth?" That's an easy one. Local government, in particular, is run by the people who directly benefit from uncontrolled growth (developers, among others). Plus, they get more taxes for their pet projects (which, curiously enough, includes money to developers). Until that cycle is broken, expect more of the same.

  • Not_So_Dumb May 23, 2007

    methinkthis,

    That is great. How about this one:

    The legislature is working hard to take more of your money so you have to work harder.

  • Wake1 May 23, 2007

    This new partnership needs more of the average citizen who supports the businesses these so called leaders run. Just beacause you aren't an elected official or a business leader doesn't mean you don't have valuable input!!

  • methinkthis May 23, 2007

    The ads for NC should be required to have a warning label. "Warning: our legislature is working hard on finding additional ways to tax you and we are planning to borrow a lot more money to fund your coming here. Sales and property taxes will be increased significantly so budget accordingly."

  • Not_So_Dumb May 23, 2007

    It is nice that you all see a problem, but do you really believe that the people in this group, given that they are already tied into the system, are actually going to change it?

    This is a lobbying group. A special interest group. Exactly the same type of folks who had the ears of the politicians who got us into this mess.

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