Editorial: Six must-do tasks to get NC back on track

With the election past us, it is time to get down to the business of repealing HB2, extending Medicaid benefits, fixing a broken redistricting process and addressing key education needs -- a 100-day agenda for the governor and legislature.

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Legislative Building
A CBC Editorial: Wednesday, Nov.9, 2016; Editorial# 8079
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company

The election’s done. Now it’s time to get down to the real work of reversing North Carolina’s fallback and move ahead. The governor -- whom ever that will be -- and the General Assembly should achieve the following key objectives within 100 calendar days of the legislature’s opening session – by April 20, 2017. These are not matters of partisan difference, but where majorities of North Carolinians agree.

-- Repeal HB2. North Carolina has suffered enough. Get rid of all of it, no strings attached.
-- Enact non-partisan congressional and legislative redistricting. The courts have already ordered new districts, here’s an opportunity to do it right, avoid needless litigation, give North Carolinians fairer representation and maybe even save the taxpayers millions in the process.
-- Expand Medicaid to provide health insurance to 500,000 uninsured North Carolinians. This is a no-brainer. The federal government pays 90 percent of the cost, it creates tens of thousands of jobs, helps keep rural hospitals open and will add about $3 billion to the state’s economy annually.
-- Enact a competitive compensation plan for teachers and principals – and do it before anything’s buried in a proposed state budget. It has been well-documented how badly North Carolina lags in teacher pay and now we see embarrassing reports indicating our pay for school principals is even worse!
-- Reestablish the Teaching Fellows Program. Along with improving pay, we need to re-open the parched pipeline to get our best and brightest leading our classrooms, not leading the exodus to other states.
-- Require accountability and transparency in the private school voucher program. Millions of taxpayer dollars are being spent on the “opportunity scholarships” without any requirement or notion that they’re helping educate North Carolina’s children. The standards should require private schools to disclose business operation details and salaries of faculty and administration along with student performance data.

Sure, there are plenty of other things that our governor and legislature need to be doing – and rest assured we’ll have more suggestions.

But here’s a start. State leaders need to develop a plan, work the plan and get this done.

We have a lot of lost ground to make up.

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