Meet Alex Jones, our student blogger. A student at UNC-CH, he will be posting on Tuesday and Friday afternoons.
Governor McCrory likes grand timelines. “Mayors and governors have to budget for the long term and have to make sure they don’t get stuck in the same position two years from now,” he sternly informed the cast of Morning Joe in October 2009. “DOT Sec Tata outlined how 25-year transportation plan will boost econ growth,” he enthused on Twitter. But the horizons of his other economic development proposals so far have been notably stunted.
The governor’s recent budget proposal demonstrates a consistent preferences for immediate consumption over long-run investment. The $90,000,000 gift he and the legislature lavished on MetLife could have covered almost 75% of his proposed cuts to the UNC system. But instead of investing in the skills of a future workforce over 180,000 strong,he procured 2,600 office jobs that could easily be offshored to India. McCrory’s cuts to the North Carolina Biotechnology Center constitute an even more explicit attempt to undermine long-term innovation: For over 25 years, the Biotech Center has provided a steady hand in a highly turbulent sector. Eliminating the state inheritance tax will provide a one-time rush to a few dozen estates–and to no one else.
Governor McCrory may believe in the libertarian idealization of growth, a splendid image of prosperity emerging, unassisted, from the primordial free-market soup. The reality, however, is that businesses–and states–require a durable public sector to compliment their efforts. If he keeps hacking away at it, it’s only a matter of time until our growth becomes hollow and unsustainable–a shorter time period than he’s accustomed to.